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A week in Welsh Racing – everything you need to know from the track across last seven days

horse racing

By James Stevens, the Racing Post’s man in the West and Wales.

It has been nearly 120 years since a Welsh-trained horse landed the Grand National at Aintree but Christian Williams is raring to end the drought with his superstar chaser Kitty’s Light.

Last season, the key horse at the picturesque stable on the Glamorgan coast bolted up in the Scottish National and followed up just seven days later in Sandown’s bet365 Gold Cup. 

Dragonbet make Kitty’s Light a 14-1 shot to break the drought which dates back to Kirkland’s heroics on Merseyside in 1905. In a remarkable resemblance, he was also trained at a seaside yard in Pembrokeshire.

Promising jockey Jack Tudor, who grew up near the Ogmore-by-sea stable, has also built up an incredible association with the chaser and the duo got a pre-Aintree confidence boost as the likeable Cap Du Nord bounced back to form at Plumpton on Sunday he also rode Phantomofthepoints to victory the following day at Chepstow. 

Kitty’s Light will need a few more rivals to drop out of the race in the latest confirmation stage next Monday but Williams is excited for the bid following a more encouraging effort at the Cheltenham Festival last time.

Williams told the Racing Post: “He travelled well for a long way in the Ultima and it was only really a prep. We hadn’t had a good, clean run with him this winter until about three weeks before Cheltenham, so I’d have to say it was pleasing enough.

“Aintree has been the target all year, but whether we get in, we’ll see. It’d be good for the horse and the owners if he were to get a chance to run in the Grand National so we can see how good he is. I’d hope he’d be competitive, and if he finished in the first six it would be wonderful.”

Additionally, Williams also suggested the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow in December could be a target for Kitty’s Light next season. It would be a fitting place to crown a new champion of Welsh racing.

A second Cheltenham Festival winner has been quite the boost for Welsh jockey Lorcan Williams whose form has shown no signs of stopping.

He kicked off the week by going 2-2 at Exeter on Monday. Riding for Jeremy Scott, who also trained his Festival hero Golden Ace, Welsh wizard Williams sauntered clear aboard Joe Cotton and then produced an excellent energy-saving ride to strike on Bampton Star in utterly gruelling conditions in Devon.

He continued his good run at Ffos Las on Sunday with victory on Rouge De L’Quest sprung over the Dragonbet-sponsored fences beautifully to win for Rebecca Curtis.

The in-form man took another prize  at Chepstow on Easter Monday with the even money shot Bonza Boy. 

Evan Williams is something of a king of the Welsh training ranks and perhaps fittingly enjoyed a Ffos Las winner called Patriotik.

The exciting talent absolutely bolted up in the opening maiden hurdle on Easter Sunday card under the trainer’s daughter Isabel. Patriotik certainly looks like a name to follow going forward.

The deadly Dragonbet ambassador duo of Tim Vaughan and Alan Johns are never too far away from winners in Wales and got their taste of victory as Wonderweasle bounded clear in the 2m4f handicap hurdle. 

You may not have to wait long to see him again either, he is 4-1 with Dragonbet to win the 2.10 at Huntingdon on Monday.

It is the final month of the jumps season and Sean Bowen is still doing all he can to become champion jumps jockey.

The Welshman is 12/1 to land a first championship but he has a huge task to claw back a 15-winner deficit but he is riding as well as ever. 

The son of top trainer Peter, and brother to weighing room colleague James, rode a great Haydock double on Saturday and ensured he would not go empty-handed on Easter Sunday as he got Wade Out to land the finale.

After an Irish-dominated Cheltenham Festival one of the up-and-coming talents of the Welsh riding ranks Connor Brace bravely went into the lion’s den to ride against some of Willie Mullins’ best at Fairyhouse.

Brace – who is the grandson of breeder, owner and Welsh point-to-point hero David – could only muster a ninth-pace finish aboard Springtime Promise for Fergal O’Brien in the Honeysuckle Mares’ Novice Hurdle but it was just his fifth ride at the top-level and he showed no fear when leading the 17-runner field. 

It is only a matter of time before this top talent gets his head in front in a Grade 1 at the post.

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