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Potters Corner: From Virtual Grand National Victor to Real-Life Winner?

Christian Williams’ star Potters Corner won the virtual edition of the Grand National last year

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2EM3PP7 File photo dated 16-03-2019 of Potters Corner ridden by James Bowen during the Marstons 61 Deep Midlands Grand National race at Uttoxeter Racecourse. Issue date: Wednesday February 24, 2021.

What a story it could have been if Potters Corner had won the 2020 Grand National.

After becoming the first native-trained winner of the Welsh Grand National in 54 years, Christian Williams’ talent could have been the first Cymru-based horse to win the National Hunt showpiece event in 115 years.

Unfortunately, the 11-year-old’s ‘victory’ in the 2020 renewal was down to a computer simulation with the main event being cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

It could of very well of been Potters Corner’s year, but Williams’ gelding has now got his chance to turn his virtual success into reality this term.

The former Midlands Grand National winner made his seasonal reappearance in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase in the November meeting at Cheltenham.

With Tiger Roll being pulled up early on, the eleven-year-old should have thought that Cheltenham Festival victor Easysland was the only real threat.

T3509E AINTREE, Liverpool, UK. 6th Apr, 2019. Tiger Roll winner of the 2019 Randox Grand National ridden by D N Russell. He becomes the first horse to since Red Rum 45 years ago to win the hurdles event race back-to-back. 40 runners, 30 fences and more than four-and-a-quarter miles, the National is the ultimate test for horses and riders.
Potential rivals to Potters Corner at Cheltenham, Cross Country 1-2 Tiger Roll and Easysland will not oppose the Welsh trained horse on Merseyside

However, David Cottin’s French raider made no impression on the race and it was the front-running outsiders of Michael Scudamore’s Kingswell Theatre and Phillip Hobbs’ Beau Du Brizais that caused the trouble.

Scudamore’s mount would claim success at odds of 22/1, with Hobbs’ runner not far behind him in second.

Potters Corner had made some headway late on, but he was outpaced by the charging pair by two out. The eleven-year-old stayed on well in the final stages to claim third.

That was a promising performance from Williams’ runner, but he has yet to build on it.

watch: potters corner finished third in a hot bumper at aintree in 2015, which included barters hill, bellshill and buveur d’air [credit: racing tv]

The gelding returned after a 64-day break in a Pertemps qualifier at Warwick in January but he struggled to keep up with the faster pace, only managing to finish seventh.

The 11-year-old’s final outing was in another Pertemps qualifier, this time at Exeter. However, he struggled with the pace once again and was eventually pulled up at four out.

Potters Corner was due to run at Cheltenham in the Cross Country Chase, but a knock ruled him a few days before the Festival.

Christian Williams’ Potters Corner is a winner of both the Welsh and Midlands Grand National’s

It does mean that the gelding will head straight to Aintree without an ideal prep run, but could bring home a first Welsh-trained success in over a century?

12 of the 15 last winners of the Grand National had previously won over 3m1f or longer, which the 11-year-old has done on three occasions.

He has also run over fences 11 times, which seven of the previous 11 winners had made between 10-14 chase starts.

Eight of the last 11 winners had also run at the Grand National Festival previously, which the gelding did in the Grade 2 Bumper back in 2015 under Paul Morgan.

Horses jump a fence during the 2019 Grand National
Previous form at Aintree’s April meeting is imperative for hopefuls of the Grand National

Potters Corner has several trends in his favour and if he can recreate his electric form from last season, he could well be in the mix at Aintree.

Reece Charlton is a Content Writer at Low6 that specializes in horse racing. He is an avid hunter of value in the racing world, picking out longshots six days a week across the National Hunt and Flat cards on offer across the UK and Ireland. He keeps punters and race fans in the know with his racing expertise with previews and value picks for all the big cards and meetings.

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