Wales beat Scotland in the Coral Scottish Grand National with last year’s runner-up Kitty’s Light getting the better of Cooper’s Cross in a thrilling encounter.
Beaten by stablemate Win My Wings in the Ayr showpiece 12 months ago, the Christian Williams-trained chaser is still only seven yet has been running in these big handicaps for the past three years.
Raised 8lb for his win in the Eider Chase at Newcastle in February, Kitty’s Light was ridden by Jack Tudor, who recently took the job as stable jockey for David Pipe.
It was with Williams with whom he started his career, though, and in the aftermath it was clear just what the result meant to the pair of them.
Dropped out, Kitty’s Light’s jumping was much better on this occasion, at least until he got to the final fence at which he went right through the top.
But that did not stop his momentum too much, and as Stuart Coltherd’s Cooper’s Cross tried with all his might to keep the prize at home, Kitty’s Light (4-1 joint-favourite) stayed on strongly to score by three lengths. Flash De Touzaine was third with Threeunderthrufive fourth.
Williams has had his world turned upside down recently with the news his five-year-old daughter Betsy has been diagnosed with leukaemia, and was emotional in the aftermath.
He said: “It’s brilliant. He’s a very important horse. We’ve a big battle on at home with my daughter, but this is great and will cheer everyone up.
“I’m lucky to have the staff I’ve got, and the family. It’s a great tonic to the children watching at home and I’m looking forward to getting back tonight and seeing them all.”
Tudor told ITV Racing: “He’s a legend. He’s small and he’s not a brilliant jumper and he’s been trained to the absolute minute.
“This is brilliant for Christian, his little daughter is really unwell so it’s a massive lift for him more than anyone, the whole family, Charlotte (Williams’ wife), it means a lot this one so well done to everyone at the yard. People won’t know what this will mean to Christian.
“If Betsy can be as tough as Kitty’s Light she’ll be fine.”
Prior to the start, protesters from Animal Rising attempted to disrupt proceedings, but they were quickly dealt with by police and officials and there was no repeat of the delay at Aintree, with the race going off just a couple of minutes late.