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TV star Chris Hughes rides racehorse on beach in Wales

TV star and ITV Racing presenter, Chris Hughes, recently visited Welsh Grand National winning trainer, Christian Williams, to see how racehorses are trained on Traeth yr Avon beach, near Bridgend.

In a video filmed by Great British Racing, Hughes learns about Williams’ unique training style and approach to training his yard of 30 racehorses. From cold-water therapy in the Welsh sea, to canter work through the sand dunes, Williams gives Hughes insight into training racehorses, his philosophy and how his horses perform so well as a result of these methods.

Hughes’ riding skills were put to the test aboard racehorse, Kitty’s Light, as he navigated his way through the sand dunes before taking the racehorses for a splash in the sea.

Hughes, who is an ambassador for Great British Racing and avid racing fan, said: “Riding a horse in training on the sand dunes and along the beach is a completely different experience from other training facilities I have ridden at. It was a phenomenal experience and the horse felt incredible, you could feel how happy and at home he was.”  

“There’s no feeling like sitting on a racehorse. If you’re having a mental struggle or a rubbish day, they (the horses) take you to a great place and give a huge sense of freedom.”

Williams grew up near Ogmore, and has been training in the area since taking out his license in 2017. Since then, Williams trained Potters Corner to win the Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase in 2019, and this year trained Win My Wings to win the Coral Welsh Grand National.

Speaking about his training facilities and techniques he said: “We are lucky where we are with the space we have. It’s great to have the beach and the sea. The sea is great for recovery and the sand dunes offer us different terrains. The cold-water therapy, much like for humans, definitely has its benefits for the horses.”

“Because of the varied terrain we can do slower work which is good for building stamina. All of our horses go out in the field together after exercise and it is great to see them in the natural environment having a good roll.”

Williams was a successful jockey before becoming a trainer, having ridden more than 100 winners for both 13-time Champion Trainer, Paul Nicholls, and well-known Welsh trainer, Evan Williams.  He was also a gallant runner up on Royal Auclair in the 2005 Grand National.

Previously run by two generations of the Williams family, Ogmore Farm (where the racehorses are stabled) was originally used as a sheep farm by Williams late grandfather and then a pony trekking centre. The yard is just under a mile from the secluded Traeth yr Avon beach that gives use of uninterrupted sand and sea.

The Welsh Grand National takes place at Chepstow Racecourse on Tuesday 27th December and will air live on ITV Racing (ITV4) at 2.50pm.