Coral Scottish Grand National
IT was a memorable weekend for Christian Williams in late February when Win My Wings won the Eider Chase at Newcastle, just moments before Cap Du Nord and Kitty’s Light set off in the Coral Trophy Chase at Kempton, finishing first and second in that sponsored event to provide the Ogmore-By-Sea yard with its finest 15 minutes.
That moment of glory was eclipsed last Saturday, as Win My Wings bolted up in the Coral-sponsored Scottish Grand National, followed home by the gallant Kitty’s Light, who is gaining an undeserved reputation as a bridesmaid in televised staying chases.
Win My Wings, ridden by Rob James, whose 7lb claims under rules is tantamount to did little to theft, was always tanking along in the Ayr marathon, and she soon had the race in the bag after hitting the front four fences from home.
Kitty’s Light (Jack Tudor) stayed on past Alan King’s pair Major Dundee (Tom Cannon) and Fidux (Daryl Jacob) to claim second, but the seven-length margin did little to hide the winner’s superiority on the day.
The last horse to win both the Eider and Scottish National in the same season was Willsford in 1995, that remarkable horse having won the Midlands National in 1990, and the County Hurdle in 1989 for Jenny Pitman and owner Arnie Kaplan.
Williams was again proving that it’s possible to achieve success in big races over jumps without a huge budget, and Win My Wings, and eight-year-old daughter of Gold Well bred by Mrs Patricia A Byrne, cost just £9,250 at Ascot Sales after winning a mares’ maiden between the flags at Lingstown in 2018 for Denis Moore.
Kitty’s Light was even cheaper when sold at Tatts a year earlier for just 5,000 gns, albeit as a yearling, and those numbers pale in comparison to the money being bandied about the parade ring after racing at Cheltenham a few weeks ago.
The winner – sent off 13/2 co-favourite here – has been raised a further 14lb by the handicapper on the back of this easy win, and bearing in mind the benefit of Rob James’s claims, that will make life tough.
On the other hand, she jumps superbly, and clearly stays all day, so it can be assumed that her trainer will be working backward from the 2023 Grand National in terms of her next targets, and she needs bearing in mind for that, however she fares in the meantime.
Pat Fahy’s pair, Stormy Judge and History Of Fashion, failed to get round, with the former finishing lame, and it would appear that the ground was too lively for both of them. Stormy Judge remains a stayer of potential in the mud.
“We thought we’d come here with two horses who could win the race,” said Williams. “We didn’t hide that, all week I was fairly bullish. I couldn’t really split them, but that was an extraordinary performance from the mare.
“I thought she was doing a little bit too much, but she gets into a great rhythm. She obviously suits this track and she looked unstoppable today. These are the races you dream of.”