Lorcan’s a terrific young jockey who is aiming high!

 Lorcan Williams in action
Pictures kindly supplied by Alun Sedgmore

Ask Lorcan Williams if he had the best possible job for him and he would quickly answer in the affirmative because at 17 years of age he is a trainee jockey at the Manor Farm Stables run by top trainer Paul Nicholls in the village of Ditcheat, near Shepton Mallett.
Obtaining such a prestige placement is fitting reward for the Amroth-based teenager's riding skills because he is already an accomplished point to point jockey who has enjoyed lots of success this year, with a mature approach to his relationship with horses way beyond his tender years.
So far he has been first past the post on 26 occasions, an achievement that is all the more praiseworthy because only one of them stemmed from a family link.
"I have regularly ridden out for a number of point to point owners and trainers and it has paid dividends because I have been offered rides across the country with some brilliant people like Ian Shannon, Rose Loxton, Charlie Dando and especially Shirley Alner, for whom I've ridden 12 winners – and I’ve even had a couple for my boss Mr Nicholls!

Family matters

 Lorcan WilliamsLorcan's involvement with horses began almost as soon as he could walk because mum Lorna has always been involved with horses and took part in a few point to points in her younger days, whilst dad Chris was a very experienced point to pointer who won races with the likes of 'Minella Storm', 'Hawkeye Native' and 'Carl's Boy'.
"I can remember him riding 'Hawkeye Native' to success in the Dunraven Bowl at Chepstow when I was a real nipper," said Lorcan, "and by the time I was three I was on my first pony - and within a year I was riding without the use of a lead rein.
"My older sister Taryn has also ridden lots and showed her horse 'Sherriff Hutton', who did a good job as a schoolmaster for me as I gained in experience and polished my riding skills.
"It seemed to know what do to help me and I later rode it in point to point races, with a best of second place at Ystradowen.

Always involved with horses

At home Lorcan also got involved with the local hunt, first following them in a basket fitted to his pony Merrylegs'  back - and when he was old enough he helped out as a whipper-in with huntsman Simon Jones and chief whipper-in Tomos Summons until he was about 15.
"I also started pony racing from the age of nine and within two years I had my first winner with 'Penway Tap Dancer' over seven furlongs at the Duke of Beaufort's Hunt at their course at Didmartin."
For two years Lorcan won the West Wales pony racing championships for ponies below 13.2 hands and represented Wales at Newmarket, beating 11 other regional winners to take the title - and also raced to success with 'Stretcholt Hermes' at another prestige event at Goodwood, which is his favourite course.

Riding working hunters and hating his outfit!

The next stage in Lorcan's equine education was riding working hunters at venues like the County Show, where he not only had to negotiate 12 fences but had to show his horse's range of techniques to some experienced judges.
“It was quite nerve-wracking," admitted Lorcan, "not least because I had to dress in my riding hat, tweed jacket,  breeches and jodhpurs, because I never felt comfortable dressing for the occasion!”

Other sports

Outside of his horse riding, Lorcan also enjoyed playing rugby for Greenhill School and Tenby RFC, where he was coached by Chris Williams and was top try scorer for one season and had a few matches for Pembrokeshire alongside quality players like Ryan Conbeer, Dom Booth and Harry Williams.
He also played as a striker for Tenby AFC, tried golf at Trefloyne, where he well coached by Ollie Duckett, and cricket at Carew but all have had to take a back seat because of his interest in horses.
Back on the equine front, another sport Lorcan has tried was quadrathon, where participants have to show their ability at shooting (pistols), swimming, running and cross-country on horseback.
"I enjoyed the challenge, despite the fact that I am not the best swimmer around - but I improved enough to represent the Welsh Under 15 team which one year won the championships at Bicton Arena in Devon."

Disappointing start

But all these sports have had to be passed over for now because of his work with horses, especially with Paul Nicholas's stable and loads of travel to point to point meetings all across the M4 Corridor.
"I well remember my start in point to pointing because to say it was a bit disappointing is an understatement, starting on 'Colley Row' at Ludlow, where my ride wasn't on top form and I was relieved just to get him safely around.
"Then I rode 'Nicholasville' at Barbary Castle and had to pull him up - and for my third race I had the chance to ride him again but chose 'Dan Murphy's Door' owned by my grandfather Elvet Williams - and he was also pulled up and Tom David won on 'Nicholasville'!

First winner was a sheer joy!

"I naturally had doubts then about being a jockey but in my fourth race, at Ystradowen, I won on Nicholasville, who gave me an armchair ride, and I will never forget the huge thrill it gave me!"
Another memorable moment for Lorcan came a year later when he was asked to ride 'Larkhill' for Andy Stuart, the owner of quality racehorses like 'Big Bucks', and had his first double as he rode 'Apples Over' and 'Thereyouaresee' for Sally and Robert Allner.
Like all jockeys, Lorcan is aware of the danger of injuries but has had help in this area at a special course for budding jockeys at Newmarket Racecourse.
He has had a few tumbles and undoubtedly the worst fall came on 'Thereyouaresee' at Wincanton.
"It was a real pearler," Lorcan told us, "but touch wood there was no lasting damage and I was soon back on my next ride the same day."

And finally . . .

So what of the future for such a talented teenage rider"
"It goes without saying that I want to be a professional racing jockey but I am well aware of the difficulty of reaching that standard, although I am ready to give it my best shot - and if not then I would like to train as a farrier to continue my work with horses.
And there is one thing for sure, having met Lorcan Williams for the first time we were hugely impressed by his mature approach and modest demeanor and we wish him every success in the rough and tumble world of point to pointing and further up the equine road!