Is Venetia Williams poised for major honours in 2023/24 season?
Jumps racing takes a backseat in the summer months to allow the flat racing discipline of the sport to showcase its finest. Racing will return to Ludlow Racecourse in October when the National Hunt returns to action. Venetia Williams is one of a number of trainers that has exciting prospects ahead of her for the 2023/24 National Hunt.
Williams does have horses competing in the flat season, although neither of her two charges are participating in the major events such as Royal Ascot 2023. It is a rare discipline to be able to train both horses for the flat and jumps, but given Williams’ success at training jumps horses, it is only natural that the 63-year-old will focus on her speciality.
The two horses that were in action, Christopher Wood and Bellatrixsa, were competing to find their range rather than for a victory, which was evident in their performances. But, when the National Hunt season does start, Williams will be a contender for many of the major honours with a number of standout horses in her stable.
L’Homme Presse suffered an injury after unseating Charlie Deutsch in the King George VI Chase and was ruled out for the rest of the National Hunt season. It was a shame because the French thoroughbred would have been a strong contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but we now have to wait until 2024 before he can compete in the signature event at Cheltenham Festival.
L’Homme Presse won the Browns Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in 2022 and carried that momentum into his first race of the season at Newcastle, where he delivered an emphatic performance to start the term on a high note. As a result, L’Homme Presse was named the favourite for the King George VI Chase, but struggled down the stretch and eventually unseated Deutsch. Now that her charge is injury-free, Williams has a great chance of competing for the Gold Cup and the King George VI Chase.
Williams made history in 2009 by training the 100-1 outsider Mon Mome to victory in the Grand National. It was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the prestigious race, but Williams’ new hope of winning the race has all the credentials to be one of the leading contenders for the crown rather than a rank outsider. Quick Wave made a name for himself in the 2022/23 season. He put down a statement at the London National Handicap Chase at Sandown Park to win the race by four lengths.
After his display, his odds were shortened to 4/1 for the Welsh Grand National, although the race did not go to plan as Deutsch was forced to pull up his charge five fences out due to a shoe problem. But, he returned with a brilliant performance at the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase to win the event in preparation for a run at Aintree two months later. Ahead of the race, Williams made the decision to withdraw her charge from the contest for undisclosed reasons. The French thoroughbred will be well-rested ahead of the next campaign and he will surely be a top contender at Aintree.