Christian Williams dominated the Scottish Grand National as Win My Wings led stablemate Kitty’s Light in the Ayr showpiece.
Williams saddled the first two home in the Coral Trophy at Kempton in February and on the same afternoon Win My Wings won the Eider Chase at Newcastle.
In saddling the first two home in Scotland’s biggest race, the Welsh trainer once again proved there are not many better when it comes to training staying chasers.
Win My Wings – the 13-2 joint-favourite with Kitty’s Light – was ridden with extreme confidence by Irish amateur Rob James, whose 7lb claim offset almost all the 8lb rise she incurred for winning at Newcastle.
James has ridden one other winner in the UK, Milan Native in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival, but is one of the most prolific winning point-to-point jockeys in Ireland. Having settled his mare in mid-division behind a generous early pace, he kept out of trouble on the outside before joining Ask A Honey Bee a long way from home.
Stamina is the winner’s forte and as Major Dundee and Ashtown Lad began to tire, Win My Wings pulled further and further clear. James allowed her to coast home after the last, as Kitty’s Light stayed on dourly to claim second, seven lengths adrift. Major Dundee was third with Fidux fourth.
Anna Bunina went one better than 12 months ago when coming with a powerful late run to win the Scottish Champion Hurdle. Second to Milkwood last year, John McConnell’s mare was 13lb better off with the winner this time around.
Victory did not look likely on jumping the last, however, as Sean Bowen’s mount was third. Onemorefortheroad had just jumped back into the lead by then, taking over from West Cork who had hit the front seemingly going strongly.
To West Cork’s credit he began to battle back and was getting on top only for Bowen to get a real tune out of Anna Bunina, who sprouted wings to win going away by a length from West Cork. “She’s got Flat speed and she certainly showed it there,” said McConnell.
Michael Scudamore celebrated the first graded win of his training career as Do Your Job justified favouritism in the novices’ chase.
The eight-year-old has mixed it with some of the best young chasers around this season, finishing second to Edwardstone in the Wayward Lad and Third Time Lucki in the Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster. Winner of a handicap at Newcastle last time out, he was sent off 11-8 market leader in a field of five and was ridden confidently by Richard Patrick to win for Scudamore and his owner, Mark Dunphy.