ONE of the horses of the year will be making an unorthodox appearance at the new season’s jump opener at Chepstow Racecourse tomorrow (Friday, October 13) in a charity flat race.
Kitty’s Light won a remarkable jump treble last season, including the Scottish National and the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown just seven days apart, after taking the Eider Chase at Newcastle.
And South Wales trainer Christian Williams is hoping the fancied 2024 Grand National contender’s appearance in the Welsh Jump Jockeys Derby can boost proceeds for Welsh children’s cancer charity Latch, which supported his family after six-year-old daughter Betsy was diagnosed with leukaemia in March.
The 1m4f race, which opens Chepstow’s two-day jump season opener today, is restricted to Welsh jump jockeys, with Kitty’s Light’s regular rider Jack Tudor among the participants, while Williams’ conditional Ellis Collier will ride stablemate Uno Mas.
Sean Bowen, who currently leads the jump jockeys’ championship, will also participate along with brother James, Lorcan Williams, Connor Brace and English-born Adam Wedge, who lives in Wales.
Alan Johns, who has helped organise the race, will also ride.
Ogmore-based Williams told the Racing Post: “Kitty’s Light winning those nice races in the spring was a huge boost for us during tough times. Other families in similar situations might not have that sort of thing to look forward to – it was a great lift.”
A rounders event organised by the Tudor family has already raised £40,000 to the cause, and Christian added: “We’re very lucky and privileged to get the support we get from people in and out of racing. It was touching for us as a family.
“We’re being as positive as we can be with Betsy, there will be bumps along the way but she’s come out of maintenance now. It was a milestone seeing her walk back into school last week.
“The support we’ve had from the racing community has been brilliant and it’ll be really good to give a bit back and help children coming through in the same position as my daughter.“
After winning the back-to-back Scottish National and the bet365 Gold Cup - only the second horse in history to do the double - Christian said earlier this year: “‘We’re lucky to be involved in racing given what we’re going through.
“We can still have enjoyment through the dark days. When horses see children, they are like different animals.
“When we walk in tomorrow morning and Kitty’s Light sees us in his field, he’ll neigh and come running over to the family. They are such special animals.’
Racing starts at 12.50pm with the flat race, with live coverage all afternoon and tomorrow on Sky Sports Racing.
DragonBet will be taking bets on the Derby with all profits going to Latch.
You can donate to https://www.justgiving.com/page/chepstowraces-latch and also see a film about the race at www.facebook.com/ChepstowRacecours