The Welsh National-winning trainer tells Martha Terry about his instinctive approach and why Potters Corner is drawing comparisons with Red Rum
“My favourite thing is horses, not humans,” says Christian Williams, looking out over three large fields at his yard on the South Wales coast, where 20 or so thoroughbreds are roaming through the frosty grass, ears pricked, glistening necks peeping out from their rugs in the winter sun. “I am a lover of horses, I am; I don’t like seeing them shut in stables. They might stand at the back of their box and not move all day. It’s only humans that thought horses should be in stables and can’t cope with rain or snow. I turn them out in herds of eight. They eat well, are less stiff and their lungs are healthy. We have more accidents in the stable than the field.”
Ex-jockey Christian, racing’s latest phenomenon as trainer of one of the Grand National favourites in only his second season with a licence, is happy to go against the established grain. His horses spend as much time as is feasible living in the field. He doesn’t have a horse walker or even a gallops, and his horses don’t do fast work. His conviction to put up 17-year-old local claimer Jack Tudor for the Welsh National when plenty of experts counselled a more experienced jockey paid off as Potters Corner won in front of an ecstatic partisan crowd. This horseman’s instinct is reaping rewards. Last season, he notched 27 winners from around 30 horses, having started with just three in 2018.