All Faith In Sister Cherie NZ With Win In Central Wheatbelt Cup

21 May 2024 | Ashleigh Paikos
Sister Cherie NZ

Sister Cherie NZ Photo by Photography by Jodie Hallows

At 78-years-old, Ray Williams shows no signs of slowing down, and on Sunday at Kellerberrin the astute horseman prepared the Shire Of Kellerberrin Central Wheatbelt Cup winner Sister Cherie NZ who has had an impressive start to racing here in WA.

After winning four in a row when she made her WA debut back in September 2023, she went out for a break after start five where she finished second at Gloucester Park in a metropolitan 3YO fillies race behind Zephyra, and now at just her second start back this campaign, has added the regional cup to her resume.

“She’s a nice little mare that’s only had a few starts, but she’s done a good job for me,

“She’s learning everywhere she goes and that’s why I’m taking her to the country and trying to get a few starts, every time she goes around, she gets better,

“I’m really excited about her actually.”  Trainer Ray Williams said.

With Williams expecting to lead in the feature, it was a bit of a surprise when she couldn’t, but her class got her over the line with Eye Better and Sister Cherie NZ battling it out to the line with just a neck margin separating them at the end of the 2130m trip.

Owned by Oz-West Pacing, D Keating, P Morris, L Bunney, D Willliams and R Hoad, Sister Cherie NZ has a similar ownership group as that of Magnificent Storm who is just five or six weeks away from heading back to Ray Williams, with all reports positive on the WA star.

Father of champion trainer Grant Williams, it was when Grant moved away from the pacer and full time into the thoroughbreds that Ray stepped up, taking on Grants owners, which ultimately led to Ray landing Magnificent Storm NZ in his stable.

“He will probably go to my son’s place, Grant, and do a bit of water walker and treadmill, and all going to plan hopefully by July he will be back up here in work again,

Confirming that he’s missing having him in work, the once in a lifetime horse isn’t just a good racehorse but has the character to match.

“He’s a bit like a cat, he gets under your skin a bit, he’s a lovely horse.

“I never thought in my life I would get a horse to win over a million dollars, what he’s won for the owners, but he’s such a character of a horse, he’s got his own idea,

“He’s too smart for his own good but he’s got a heap of ability and a lovely horse to be around.”

It’s a family affair out at the Mount Helena stable, with Ray’s daughter Jodi and integral part of the team, with Williams confirming he couldn’t do it without her.

“If I didn’t have the horses, what would I do? I’m 79 years old this year, If I didn’t have the horses getting me up in the morning doing what I love doing, I’d be even worse to be around than what I am now,

“I just hope we can keep going.”

Williams has four in work and hopes to keep it at that manageable number, especially heading into the Winter.

Jodi Howkins has been working for her dad for 15 years now and her son, who’s 18 has also been giving him a hand has only further cemented the families love of the sport.

“I don’t know how far he wants to go into that, but for the moment we’re enjoying what we’re doing.”


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