The Coral Scottish Grand National saw a touching and poignant victory by Kitty’s Light, but it was not just any victory. The trainer, Christian Williams, had recently found out that his five-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with leukaemia during the Cheltenham Festival week. This news meant that Williams and his family were facing a very difficult time. However, his daughter remained brave and kept spirits up by pretending to ride a wooden rocking horse and mimicking her father’s horse, Kitty’s Light.
In the race, Kitty’s Light was backed down to 4-1 joint-favourite, and the horse lived up to his potential, delivering a smooth success for Williams. Kitty’s Light had previously chased stablemate Win My Wings in the same contest the year before and won the Eider Chase at Newcastle earlier this year.
The Welsh trainer has had a successful run, having won the Midlands National, Welsh National, and Coral Trophy in the last four years, and punters were quick to take advantage of his Midas touch.
“I trained him for the two races this year and that’s brilliant,” Williams said. “He’s a classy horse. He did a piece of work last week that we hadn’t seen for 12 months.
“I was confident coming here. He travelled sweetly. Fences get in his way but if his jumping holds up on good ground he’s a very good horse. His jumping held up early and it was nice to watch.
“We’ve had him since he was a yearling so we know what the horse is capable of. He just bumped into a freak [Win My Wings] last year – I don’t know where the mare’s performance came from, she was unstoppable.”
Williams was emotional and speechless after the victory, admitting that it was a tough time for him and his family. His wife, Charlotte, had put her life on hold to look after their daughter, and the news of the victory brought a sense of joy to the family.
Tudor, who rode Kitty’s Light to victory, commended the Williams’ team and their planning, stating that they rarely miss a plan. He also hoped that his recent appointment as David Pipe’s stable jockey would not prevent him from teaming up again with Kitty’s Light.
“When there is a plan, they very rarely miss. Christian has had a rough time. It’s horrible and this will give a lift to the whole family, so that is brilliant.”
Williams became the first trainer to win back-to-back Scottish Grand Nationals with different horses since 1970-1971, and he expressed his enjoyment of supporting the race and his hope to win it for a third year.
“I thought we’d win the race last year and the plan was to try to come here and replicate that,” said the trainer, whose Cap Du Nord finished tenth. “We enjoy supporting this race and will try to come back and see if we can win it for a third year.”