Connor Brace rode Recoup to victory at Chepstow at Friday’s jump season launch - to earn bragging rights over his fellow Welsh jockeys in a special charity flat race.

The Unibet Welsh Jump Jockeys Derby was organised to show support for the family of Welsh trainer Christian Williams, whose six-year-old daughter Betsy was diagnosed with leukaemia earlier this year.

And Chepstow Racecourse was able to announce before the tape went up that more than £10,000 had already been raised for Latch, the Welsh children’s cancer charity that has been helping the Ogmore-based trainer and his family.

Brace held off the challenge of Ladypacksapunch ridden by Ben Jones, with Williams’ Scottish National-winning Kitty’s Light - ridden by Jack Tudor - finishing third in the 1m4f race.

“It was brilliant, great, it was very special to us, (wife) 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 (his horse) 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!”

The racing community rallied around the Williams family and Friday’s Welsh Jump Jockeys’ Derby at the home of Welsh racing was organised to continue that support as well as raise money for charity.

The race, although run over the flat, featured 10 of the leading Welsh jump jockeys including the likes of Sean Bowen - currently leading the British Jump Jockeys’ Championship standings - his brother James, Brace, Tudor, Jones, Ellis Collier, Alan Johns and Richard Patrick.

It was been an uplifting week for the Williams family, with the Welsh trainer revealing in the lead up to Chepstow that his daughter has recently been able to return to school.

“It’s been a tough seven months now but she (Betsy) went back to school last week so that was great, a very special day,” Williams had said.

“There’s still a long road to go but just hope and pray for a bit of luck, and she’s started maintenance now and that goes on until 25th May.

“We’re being very grateful for the support we’ve had; it’s just been a wonderful week to see her go back to school.”

Phil Bell, the regional director west at Arena Racing, 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.”

Succesful days at the track have helped buoy Christian and his family, with Kitty’s Light proving one of the outstanding horses of the year.

It 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 is among the early favourites for the 2024 Grand National.

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.”

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.’

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