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Saturday brings four winners for Venetia Williams
2:48pm Tuesday 4th February 2014 in Sport
KINGS Caple trainer Venetia Williams' horses are renowned for handling testing ground, writes GRAHAM SAVEKER.
That was certainly the case at the weekend when the stable sent out Emperor's Choice, who ploughed through the mud to win the three-and-a-half mile West Wales National at Ffos Las and gained a treble at Sandown Park.
At Ffos Las, only five horses were in with a chance over the last mile as the very heavy ground took its toll from an early stage.
But several others appeared to be going better than Emperor's Choice ridden by Liam Treadwell.
Firebird Flyer jumped into the lead for Paul Moloney but once in the clear it gave the eventual winner something to aim at and the 9/2 favourite Emperor's Choice stayed on well to win going away by eight lengths.
"Conditions suited him as he's not the quickest in the world, but he never knows when he's beaten," said Williams
Treadwell, who is enjoying his renewed association with Williams this season after winning the 2009 Grand National for the yard on 100/1 outsider Mon Mome, said: "He needed that ultimate test there. It's attritional stuff and whoever stays goes the longest as much as anything."
Venetia Williams and main stable-jockey Aidan Coleman had already struck with Saroque and Aachen at Sandown Park and Relax made up the treble in the extended three-mile contest.
In a slow-motion finish up the Sandown hill, Relax, a 9/1 chance, clawed back the win that seemed to have been taken away from him over the previous two fences.
Always at the head of affairs, the nine-year-old jumped well in the main for Coleman but was starting to put out distress signals as first Fruity O'Rooney and then the well-backed Ardkilly Witness joined him at the head of affairs.
The latter appeared to have the race in the bag approaching the last when seemingly travelling the better of the pair, but Relax re-asserted to win by three lengths with Theatrical Star coming from a long way back to finish the same distance away in third.
Williams said: "I thought coming here that they'd all got their chances but three winners on the card was fantastic. I'm absolutely thrilled with them all."
Coleman added: "It's not just myself and Venetia, the team at home work endless hours and deserve all these big days that we get."