3 minute read
Emerald trainer Trevor Williams was dreaming of a city starter with stable favourite Starhattan but he will happily take a Townsville Amateur Cup as a consolation prize.
The former jockey has been trying to qualify the consistent mare for the Country Cups Challenge Final in recent weeks.
The 67-year-old had Starhattan nominated for the CCC qualifier at Roma on Saturday as well as the Cup at Townsville's Cluden Park on Sunday.
As the chestnut mare came up as the third emergency at Roma, Trevor Williams' decision was made for him – he was on the way to North Queensland.
The veteran trainer believes that in reality the $35,000 Amateur Cup from Townsville is a much more winnable race than the Roma assignment for his five-year-old.
So, while he is disappointed to miss his last chance to book his spot in the CCC decider, he will be smiling on Sunday if Starhattan can claim the prize.
"From the perspective of the track and the race, I would prefer to go to Townsville as I think it suits her better," he said.
"Being the grass track, that is where I would like to go.
"However, I was really keen to qualify to go to Brisbane. I would have liked to qualify before now but she just missed out at Home Hill last start.
"We have tried to qualify for the Battle of the Bush before as well. We now head to Townsville and she has been racing well."
Despite only training one winner so far this season, Williams is enjoying one of his better runs of his career as a conditioner in recent months.
He has taken 17 horses to the races in the 2023-24 campaign and has finished in the money on 53 per cent of the time.
While it is only one victory so far this campaign, it shows Williams' horses are running well.
He believes with a bit of luck Starhattan would have won a couple more after being placed in three of her last five efforts.
"She has been going very well," he said.
"The way she races, she needs luck all the time. She gets back and runs on, which she did last start at Home Hill."
In-form apprentice Olivia Kendal has been booked for the assignment on Starhattan for Sunday.
Kendal has collected four winners from the last three race meetings she has attended.
As well as Starhattan, the Williams stable has mare Silent Angel racing consistently.
Silent Angel scored the second win of her career in the middle of June at Barcaldine under the care of apprentice hoop Amy Graham.
Williams – who goes by the nickname 'Turk' to his mates – rides all his own track work and completes the farrier work on his small team of five at Emerald.
The former jockey was in the saddle for 30 years before turning to training.
He last rode in a race back in 2002 at Emerald.
He has enjoyed stints training and riding at Moranbah, Toowoomba and Mackay through his career.
The Townsville Amateur Cup over a mile and the Townsville Amateur Sprint will headline racing from Cluden Park on Sunday.
The two feature races will be contested for $35,000.