Evan Williams: the ‘accidental’ National Hunt trainer who is ‘only just getting started’ *H&H Plus*

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  • Trainer Evan Williams has gone from strength to strength this winter, clinching the Welsh Grand National title and a third Grade One victory. Catherine Austen chats to the Welshman

    It would be easy to assume that Evan Williams is a laid-back, happy-go-lucky sort of chap. We speak in the build-up to any National Hunt trainer’s most intense week of the year – the Cheltenham Festival – yet he is easy to get hold of, he chats merrily away, and says that the thing that would give him most pleasure at the Festival would be for his daughter, Isabel, to have a nice first ride there in the conditionals’ race and to come home safely.

    The statistics, however, show the skull beneath the skin. He won his first Grade One just months after taking out a full licence in 2003, appropriately enough for a Welshman at Chepstow, and within two years was training 50-plus winners a season. Horses such as State Of Play, Deep Purple and Cappa Bleu let him mix it with far bigger operations, and at the time of writing he was seventh in the trainers’ table, sandwiched between Nigel Twiston-Davies and Alan King. Pretty good for a farmer from the Vale of Glamorgan.

    “Every step of the way – first riding and training point-to-pointers, then when we stepped into the professional world – we have been very fortunate that there’s always been a flagship horse to win a big race somewhere,” he says. “Without them you stagnate.”

    This feature is also available to read in the Thursday 25 March issue of Horse & Hound magazine

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