Teenager Williams tunes in with Aerial to trigger Nicholls treble
There were vintage Bren guns on show by the weighing room on Remembrance Sunday but the ammunition hitting the target came from the barrel of Paul Nicholls and rookie rider Jordan Williams.
The champion trainer employed the 18-year-old from South Wales last year and was rewarded as Williams teamed up with Aerial to land the £25,000 Southern National.
It was only the teenager's second ride over fences but it did not look like it as he edged quietly into contention before unleashing the ten-year-old he rides at home to burst past leader Fergal Mael Duin over the last.
"It’s was great and I couldn’t ask for a better horse to do it on – he’s a lovely old boy,” said Williams. “I just want to say thank you to Mr Nicholls for putting me on.
“We were worried about him getting the trip but I just held on to him and tried to switch him off for the first two circuits, hunting myself around as much as I could. He showed us what he had at the end."
It was a tenth winner for Williams, who added: “It was my first ride at Fontwell. I like it here!”
Assistant trainer Harry Derham said: “Jordan gave him a wonderful ride. For a guy having only his second ride over fences, you have to give him huge credit.”
Sean Bowen took over on Nicholls' three remaining mounts and won on two of them to complete a 218-1 treble for the yard, which has had eight winners from their last 14 runners at Fontwell.
The quality of jumping from More Buck's secured him a second win at the course this autumn, in the novice limited handicap chase, but the one for the notebook was Peak To Peak, who took the maiden hurdle.
Like Aerial he was running after more than a year off, but unlike that winner he was making his debut for the stable and is a four-year-old recruit from France with potential.
Derham said: “It was nice performance and it’s not surprised me. Everything he’s done at home is thoroughly professional. He’s done everything right without being flashy and he’s a good jumper.
"We’re going to see improvement, for sure. He’s not run for a long time and had only one run on the Flat in France over a mile and three.
"We liked him in the spring and that’s why we didn’t run him, because we wanted him to have a full year as a novice. Patience with a nice horse always pays off. He’s by Authorized but he looks like a National Hunt horse.
"We won’t rush him back. I don’t think we'd have any grand plans early on as he needs to learn more before going into a better race.”
Thought for the day
Thank you for the rain this week that delivered proper jumping ground and loads of runners on a serene autumn afternoon.