Grand National
Kitty’s Light Prepares for bet365 Gold Cup Repeat Bid After Brave Grand National Fifth for Christian Williams

Kitty’s Light Prepares for bet365 Gold Cup Repeat Bid After Brave Grand National Fifth for Christian Williams

The eight-year-old produced a captivating run in the great race, joint-leading the field with four others jumping the last before fading behind an Irish-trained quartet headed by I Am Maximus. Trainer Christian Williams reported Kitty’s Light to be in great shape following his return from Liverpool and hopes he can defend the £170,000 prize on April 27, for which he is 6-1 with the sponsor. Last season he won at Sandown just seven days on from scoring in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr, but while he will have double the recovery time this year, Williams believes he endured a tougher test at Aintree.

The trainer, who returned home to Wales from Aintree at 1.30am, said on Sunday morning: “He had a hard race but we’ll give him every chance to go to Sandown. We had a wonderful day there last season and we think the horse likes the track, having run well in the race for the last three seasons. “He had a harder race than he’s ever had before so we’ll just see, but it would be great to end up there if possible.

We’ve got the entry and we’ll see how he is but we hope to be there. “We’ve got the extra week [off] than he had last year but he showed us before he does recover quickly from his races. He was also looking to become the first Welsh-trained National winner since 1905.

The Glamorgan-based trainer said: “It was brilliant. We didn’t make any secret about our plans for this the whole way through the season. People had written him off with the ground and the fences, but he jumped the last in the lead and finished fifth, which is wonderful.

He wasn’t quite good enough on the day but I’m very proud of him.” The trainer was impressed with the Grand National as a spectacle in its first year since a number of changes were made, including a reduced maximum field size of 34, a standing start, alterations to fences and an earlier start time. “I thought the race was great,” said Williams.

“The changes were done for a reason. It’s obviously not the test it was, but it doesn’t take away from the fact what was done was needed to be done. It was a wonderful race to watch and be involved in.

“There were plenty in with a chance going to the last. The solid, Graded horses came to the fore at the end, but even at the second-last there were so many in with a shout. The seven-year-old is set for one more run over hurdles – either at Haydock on May 11 or Cartmel at the end of the month – before being sent novice chasing.

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