Welsh Jump Jockeys Derby Winner Connor Brace is held aloft by the other Welsh jockeys. Pic: Nigel Kirby Photography

Welsh Jockeys Unite To Show Support For Christian Williams

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By Graham Thomas

Welsh jockeys have crowned their own champion in Connor Brace and helped raise £15,000 for Welsh children’s cancer charity, Latch.

Brace – whose younger brother Max plays rugby for the Ospreys Academy – won the Welsh Jump Jockeys’ Derby last weekend at Chepstow Racecourse.

It was the opening race of the season opener and featured 10 of Wales’ best jump jockeys racing on the flat over one mile and four furlongs.

Brace earned the bragging rights, coming home first on Recoup in a race organised by fellow jockey Alan Johns to show support to the family of leading Welsh trainer Christian Williams.

Chepstow Welsh trainer Christian Williams (back left) and family with winning jockey Connor Brace. Pic: Nigel Kirby Photography

Williams’ six-year-old daughter Betsy was diagnosed with leukemia back in March.

Johns also ran the Loch Ness Marathon – between two race days – a fortnight ago to raise more funds for Latch.

“Latch are a fantastic charity who provide financial support, social support, and day trips that try to help the process of cancer treatment go by a little bit more easily,” said Johns.

“I know that Christian’s family have found their support invaluable. You only need to speak to Betsy’s mum, Charlotte, for a few minutes and her positivity for the charity really flows.

“After speaking to her, I felt motivated to do as much as I could to help.”

The race featured Sean Bowen who currently leads the jump jockey’s championship, as well as his brother James, winner Brace, Johns, Lorcan Williams, Jack Tudor, Ben Jones, Adam Wedge, Richard Patrick and Ellis Collier.

Brace finished just ahead of Ladypacksapunch, ridden by Jones in second place, with Williams’ trained Kitty’s Light – winner of last season’s Scottish Grand National – finishing third.

“It was brilliant, great, it was very special to us, Charlotte, the children here and all the staff and family,” Williams told At The Races afterwards.

“It’s been tough, my daughter’s got cancer so it’s tough, but it’s great to see Kitty’s Light here as well, thanks for the owners for letting us run him – he ran a lovely race but it was Betsy’s day today, it wasn’t about getting upset if you don’t win a charity race!”

It proved a successful weekend for Patrick, who celebrated a home Welsh success at Ffos Las on Sunday after winning the DragonBet Welsh Champion Hurdle on board Nemean Lion.

Phil Bell, the regional director west at Arena Racing Company, said: “The entire Welsh horse racing community is rallying around to support Christian and his family.

“We felt it was important, as the biggest racecourse in Wales, to do what we could to raise awareness and money.

“This is a golden era for Welsh jockeys, and we thought the idea of the charity race involving all of them would be the perfect vehicle for fundraising.”

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