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Next Gen | Lucas Williams

Image © Healy Racing

Name: Lucas Williams

Age: 21
From: Ballina, Crusheen

The John Staunton trained Baunmore Jet supplied Lucas Williams with his first point-to-point winner at Castletown-Geoghegan.
How did you get involved with horses? 
When I was still in school, I used to go to my neighbour Paddy Kennedy to ride out ponies. I did a lot of hunting with him and his young lads, we hunted with the East Clare Farmers.
When I was about fourteen I started riding out at Pat Coffey’s during summer and on school holidays.
I took a break from riding out completely when Pat passed away, I was about seventeen at the time and I went to Niall Bleahen's doing sales prep for a couple of seasons. 
I started back riding out then and went to Ray Hackett until the end of last year.

From there I went to Paurick O’Connor and I've been based there since.
Who do you ride out for?

I am based with Paurick O’Connor at the moment. I go there in the morning and then onto Brian McMahons, John Stautons and Lesley Youngs as much as I can. I go to Derek O’Connor every Tuesday as well.
How did the ride on Baunmore Jet come about?

I found out the week before Bellharbour that I would be riding him. John let me ride him again on his next run at Lisronagh and Eoin Mahon rode him after that in Belclare. 
Eoin was already booked to ride for David Ryan in Castletown-Geoghehan so I got another go on him.
It was great to win on him since he was my first spin in a point-to-point and he has taught me a lot.
Were you expecting a good run?

He was definitely entitled to win his maiden and I was very lucky that I was on board when it happened.
He’s very well-mannered and he's a lovely horse at home.

Did you walk the track before racing with someone?

Yeah, I walked the track with Eoin Mahon. I never rode there before so it was great to get Eoin's thoughts on it beforehand. 
Did you get some kick out riding your first point-to-point winner?

It was unreal. I couldn’t believe it; it took a few minutes for it to kick in!
Were your family there on the day? 
No, they couldn't make it on the day, unfortunately. They wouldn’t be big into racing but they were delighted for me nonetheless.
Is there someone that you regularly seek advice from? 

Ya I would get advice from Derek and Paurick and from Brian, Lesley, and John too. They would all be very good that way.

Eoin Mahon also gives me good advice. They never hold anything back. 
Have you done the progression schooling course at RACE?

Yes I did it around Christmas time. I didn't know how to properly school a horse before then but I learned a lot from it. I'm lucky that I can continue to progress  when schooling with Derek every week. 
What’s the best advice you have been given?

If someone is giving you advice, try and take it on board, don’t let it in one ear and out the other! Listen to the people that are trying to help.
Was it always your plan to take out your license?

No not at all. When Pat Coffey passed away, I went away from riding out altogether.

Niall Bleahan offered me a job prepping for sales. He took me in and looked after me.

After the last store sale with them I went to Ray Hackett riding out and a few lads in the yard said to me about taking out my license.

I was never a fan of the idea. But when I started schooling a bit I got the bug for it and went about taking out my license.
What are your ambitions for the remainder of the season?  

I never expected this. I only started properly schooling after Christmas so to get a winner this quick is unbelievable. 
I want to try and improve my riding as best as I can, to ride in more races, make more contacts, and hopefully a few more winners will follow.
Who has been your biggest influence in racing?

Derek would be, he gives me a lot of pointers schooling and has been a big help to me. If I could ride like him in a few years that would be the ambition.  What he has achieved at Cheltenham and Aintree is another level. 
What are your hobbies/interests outside of racing?

I don't really have any, racing would be my main interest. 
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks to everyone; Paurick, John, Derek, Brian, Leslie and Eoin. They're always teaching me and they set me right from wrong. 

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