For the first time in a calendar year, Stuart Williams and his team at Diomed Stables have been celebrating their 50th winner.
After Bold’s triumph at Kempton on November 23, near misses for the trio of Monna, Upavon and Hidden Gem suggested that Williams may end 2016 stranded on 49 race victories.
But somewhat fittingly, it was Bring on a Spinner — Williams’ first winner of 2016 at Southwell on New Year’s Day — that banished those thoughts when finishing first under Aaron Jones at the same track on December 13.
Hamilton Road-based Williams is just the 12th Newmarket trainer to have reached that milestone this year, capping a fine period that has also seen him collect record annual prize money in excess of £550,000.
While delighted with those achievements on a personal level, Williams was also quick to praise those that carry out the work behind the scenes.
“It is such a fantastic achievement for a stable our size. I could not be happier,” he said.
“When you consider how competitive our sport is, particularly in Newmarket, it shows how special this is. There are not many in the town that have reached 50.
“I am just the figurehead. None of this would be possible without my team, the owners and everyone else that gives us so much support.
“To pick up so many wins against such big company, at times, is a great feeling.”
The challenge now for Williams and those at Diomed Stables is to ensure they build upon the success of the last 12 months.
The sheer unpredictably of the sport means that nothing is guaranteed, but Williams has insisted everyone within his set-up will be doing all they can to give the yard the best possible chance of further success in 2017.
“We will have a day off at Christmas, but then we will be back in because the hard work does not stop,” he added.
“Going forward, we have got some nice young horses that, coupled with some of the more experienced ones, will hopefully provide us with more winners.
“You can never be complacent because there is only ever one winner in a race, but I would like to think we can have a similar sort of year.”
Before that, Williams may wrap up the year with another victory in the shape of Examiner at Wolverhampton, on Boxing Day.
The five-year-old provided Williams with one of his biggest winners this year by clinching the Investec Mile at Epsom in early June as an 11/2 shot.