Sunday 24 February 2019

Williams hoping her 'Erick' can shine in Lanzarote limelight

Like a lot of Williams's horses, Erick Le Rouge was bought as a yearling in France. Stock photo: Getty Images
Like a lot of Williams's horses, Erick Le Rouge was bought as a yearling in France. Stock photo: Getty Images

Marcus Armytage

Trainer Jane Williams has an amazing record in Kempton Park's ultra-competitive Lanzarote Hurdle, having won it three times from just five runners.

Tomorrow, she not only hopes top-weight Erick Le Rouge, an 8/1 chance with most bookmakers, can make it four wins from six runners but that he can also do for son Chester what Tea For Two did in the race for her daughter Lizzie Kelly, when winning in 2015.

That victory was one of Kelly's first major successes and, having turned professional in October, Kelly's half-brother Chester Williams is keen to get a decent scalp under his belt.

Like a lot of Williams's horses, Erick Le Rouge was bought as a yearling in France.

When it was time to get going with the gelding, which was born and bred to be a three-mile chaser, Williams set up a racing club and he is the first horse to run for them.

Much to the trainer's pleasant surprise, the five-year-old has won three on the bounce, at Bangor, Warwick and, most recently, over course and distance at Kempton Park at Christmas for the Culverhill Racing Club.

"We were specifically trying to find three-mile chasers so it's nice for them to have won three hurdles," explained the trainer.

Despite being a professional, Chester Williams is combining riding with studying for a degree in business - Kelly got a degree but she waited until afterwards before turning professional.

He is also an integral part of the family yard, getting involved not just in the training but the race planning.

"Lizzie finished her degree before turning professional but I had got to the stage as an amateur jockey (75 rides) where owners still had to pay for me as they would a professional and as most of my rides were in non-amateur races it made more sense to turn professional," pointed out Williams who, at 6ft 1in tall, towers over many of his weighing-room colleagues.

Chester Williams said: "The Lanzarote was Lizzie's first big winner. We always target it if we have the right horse and an improving novice seems to fit the bill. Erick Le Rouge is just that, an improving novice, who keeps winning.

"Although he has joint top weight, it is a very tight handicap and with my allowance he is only giving weight to three others."

Telegraph.co.uk

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