Williams hoping Briery can be crowned queen of the mares
Noel Williams is hoping stable star Briery Queen can start the new year as she ended the last with victory in Saturday’s Listed 32Red.com Mares’ Hurdle at Sandown.
Racing in the colours of owner-breeder Helen Plumbly and Kathryn Leadbeater, Briery Queen gave Williams his first taste of success at Cheltenham last month and, providing all goes to plan at Sandown, the Oxfordshire trainer hopes she will be back at Cheltenham for the Grade 1 OLBG David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle come March.
A general 7-2 chance behind a best-priced 5-2 favourite Lifeboat Mona, Briery Queen bids for a fourth-straight win on Saturday, with Barry Geraghty pencilled in for the ride.
Williams said: “There aren't a huge amount of options for her and she’s in good order. The goal would be Cheltenham, but I’m under no illusion she’s going to have to step up again on what she did the other day, which was impressive."
Saturday’s race has attracted a possible field of ten and Williams feels it is a good opportunity.
He added: “It’s competitive but winnable. Lifeboat Mona is on an upward curve but we finished in front of her in a Listed bumper at this track and there’s nothing I’d be scared of.
"I don’t have a big string yet and don’t have stacks of good Saturday horses, but she’s definitely the flagbearer. She’s proved she’s a Saturday horse.”
The ground at Sandown, for a card that also features the Grade 1 32Red Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle and the final of the 2016 Veterans’ Chase Series, was described on Wednesday evening as good to soft, soft in places on the chase course and soft, good to soft in places over hurdles. There is the potential for 5-6mm of rain overnight into Saturday.