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Track Talk - 04/05/23


05 May 2023

Kitty’s Light’s victory in the Bet365 Gold Cup spoke volumes for the horse’s power of recovery, powering up the Sandown hill at the end of this 3m5f steeplechase just seven days after winning the Coral Scottish Grand National over even further.  No favourite had won this end-of-season highlight for 23 years, but Kitty’s Light was sent off in a very competitive field at 11/4.  

It was the climax of a momentous week for Christian Williams and his family, who are coming to terms with his daughter Betsy’s leukaemia diagnosis.

We shouldn’t forget Kitty’s Light won the four mile Eider Chase in February and was extremely unlucky not to win the Bet365 in 2021.  He was second then, and third last year.  And he’s still only seven. 

Knowing Williams’ prowess in big staying handicaps, it’s remarkable that this was only his 15th winner of the 2022/23 season and the 18th for Jack Tudor, who gets on so well with the horse. 

The jumps season finished with Evan Williams topping the Welsh trainers’ table with 41 winners earning £525,000, the now-retired Coole Cody being the main contributor. Christian’s 15 earned £489,000, putting him in second place.  Sam Thomas had only 17 winners but thanks to Our Power, Iwilldoit and Al Dancer he still amassed £464,000 in prize money. 

Among the jockeys, Sean Bowen’s 125 saw him finish second only to Brian Hughes.  Adam Wedge was a clear second with 50, with James Bowen, Ben Jones, Connor Brace, Alan Johns, Richard Patrick, Lorcan Williams and James Davies all scoring in the twenties.

Dream Alliance (photographed), whose rags-to-riches story was made into a documentary as well as a cinema film (Dream Horse), died a few days ago aged 22.  Cheaply bought, he grew up in a disused allotment in the Valleys until a syndicate was formed by villagers to put him in training with Philip Hobbs.  He finished second to Denman before suffering a serious injury that appeared to have ended his racing career, only to be nursed back to fitness to win the Welsh National in 2009 with Tom O’Brien on board. 

O’Brien announced his retirement on Saturday, having ridden 1,077 winners over jumps.  Two of his most notable successes were in the Welsh Grand National, on Dream Alliance and Elegant Escape in 2018.  He won 300 races for Philip Hobbs but it should be remembered that he had a fruitful association with Peter Bowen in the first part of his career, winning 158 races including two of Always Waining’s Topham Trophy victories. 

Our next meeting at Chepstow is the first flat fixture of the year on Tuesday 16th May – we then have four meetings in June on the 2nd, 10th, 16th and 26th. The meeting on Saturday 10th June is Abba Race Night with a superb tribute act, Waterloo, performing live after racing.

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