January 18, 2019 News
SINCE bursting on to the scene with the Grade 1 success of Sunray at Chepstow in 2003, trainer Evan Williams has consistently challenged and secured big prizes.
Based in the Vale of Glamorgan, Williams has saddled the likes of Hennessy Gold Cup winner State Of Play, Barizan, Deep Purple and more recently classy hurdlers such as Court Minstrel and John Constable.
Silver Streak is another talented hurdler for the yard and puts his Champion Hurdle aspirations on the line at Haydock on Saturday. We spoke to his trainer to assess his chances and get the lowdown on a few other names from the stable.
Silver Streak is in action for you in the New One Hurdle at Haydock. How do you rate his chances?
We face difficult tasks from now on, don’t we? But it’s lovely to be taking part and win, lose or draw we’ll enjoy every step of the way with him. I’ve got plenty of confidence in my horse because the one thing he is is a really hard battler; he’s so tough. We’re not scared to go anywhere with him or take anyone on with him, but we have to do so with a realistic mindset.
Silver Streak is in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. What would he need to do at Haydock to convince you to run in the big one?
I don’t worry about things like that! There’s one thing I always have thought about this game and that’s not counting your chickens because it will tame lions this sport. Hopefully he runs well and then we’ll see how things are with him after that. But we’re not looking further than this race because that would be silly at this stage of his life.
Esprit Du Large steps up in grade for the Rossington Main Hurdle at Haydock. What sort of a chance would you give him?
It’s a tough race for sure and it’s a case of needs must in many ways. We’ll find our level with him and then go from there. I’d have loved to have given him another run in a little race with a penalty but the ground has been so squiffy, so we’ll take him to Haydock and have a proper look at him.
Esprit Du Large is owned by Angela and William Rucker, who have had horses such as State Of Play and Cappa Bleu with you. What are they like to train for?
We’re very lucky to be training for people like Mr and Mrs Rucker. They’re massive supporters of mine and we’ve had lots of good days and not so good days together. They’re good National Hunt people who understand the game and we’re very grateful for all the support they give us. They really do love their horses and they always come first.
Railroad Junkie goes for back-to-back wins at Taunton. Do you think he is capable of doing so?
He dropped in grade to win there last time and he enjoyed that. He’s back up in grade this time but he handles the track and the ground. He’s a progressive, competitive little horse and he likes to get from A to B as quickly as he can. He’s such a fun horse to have and I hope he can put his best foot forward again this time around.
He carries the same colours as the recently retired Court Minstrel. What was he like to be involved with?
He gave us some brilliant days on the course, as did West With The Wind who Mrs Davies also owned. He always gave his best and took us to some proper races along the way, but it was the right thing to retire him.
Buywise was pulled up over hurdles on his first run since falling at Sandown. How is he?
I’ve not been happy with him since that fall at Sandown. I had two options with him: sit and wait or get him out and see where he’s at. I think we could be in trouble with him. I haven’t been able to school him at home, although he’s always been a tricky customer, and I have to give him every opportunity to show what he still has. He’s 100 per cent after Wincanton but he’s not with us mentally and that run was worse than I expected. We may give him another quick outing to see what to do next.
Buywise is in the SkyBet Chase at Doncaster next weekend. Could he go there?
He won’t go to Doncaster and Pobbles Bay won’t either as he’s got an infection in his foot. On Tour is also in the race and I might have a look at the race with him as it could suit him well.
And, finally, Quoi De Neuf looks a promising sort for the yard. What is the plan for him?
He won in Aintree for us and then I thought it was a very encouraging run at Sandown. I’ve watched the race three or four times since and he’s the last one off the bridle. It wasn’t nice ground there that day and he didn’t come up the hill quite as well after being in the deep stuff at the bottom. I’d like to give him another run as I think handicaps might suit him better so he could go to Cheltenham next weekend. I like him and I think there’s plenty more to come – he’s a particular favourite of mine.