Normally the picturesque Wye Valley provides a stunning backdrop to Chepstow racecourse, which hosts the biggest horse race in Wales, the Coral Welsh Grand National at Christmas time. This year the mist shrouded the course but it did little to dampen spirits or proceedings and we witnessed some great racing! Although our first selection in the big race was the favourite Elegant Escape the winner Potters Corner was our next best. We also nominated Truckers Lodge to run a place, and had the reader permed the first two from four it paid an Exacta of £107.80 and a CSF of £90.77.
The Racing Horse previously told readers: "Christian Williams hopes Potters Corner at 9/1, who was due to race off 10st 4lbs before news of Native River's defection, can provide Welsh fans with something to cheer in the principality's biggest races. Williams has been campaigning his stable star over hurdles in order to protect Potters Corner's mark, and could stick with 7lb conditional Jack Tudor in an effort to offset any rise in the weight. The trainer told us: "He'll still be the right side of 11st and since he won the Midlands National his next chase was always going to be the Welsh National. He won well on the 7th December and last season when he looked like winning the Eider Chase, it was only three weeks to the Midlands National, when he won impressively. This will be the same turnaround. I'll probably claim and use Jack, though that's not for definite yet. He went up 10lb for winning the Midlands National, so I would think we'll take 7lb off."
An excellent renewal of Wales's premier steeplechase
It was an excellent renewal of Wales's premier steeplechase and a thrilling edition as Potters Corner became the first Welsh-trained winner since Norther in 1965. They went a sensible gallop and the first five home hit the line strongly. The winner rated 10lb higher than last season's heavy ground Midlands National victory but with Jack Tudor taking off an invaluable 7lb, was always well placed and comfortably held on after being sent to the front at the third-last. A winner off a substantially lower mark over hurdles at this track three weeks ago, he'd been trained all season with this race in mind and had obvious claims with ground conditions having come in his favour. Twice a faller last term, including in the Eider Chase at Newcastle, he was foot perfect on this occasion and will now surely come under consideration for the Grand National in April, for which he's currently a 33/1 chance with most firms.
Great ride from Jack Tudor
The trainer told us: "After Potters Corner won the Midlands National last March we hoped he would make up into a Welsh National horse and we have looked after him with that in mind. We knew he would stay and Jack has given him a great ride as he was in the right place all the way round before making his move."
Allmankind - a breathtaking performance!
There were other races of interest on the card and none so more than the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) over 2m11yds with £37,017.50 to the winner and boy what a winner he was? Allmankind was all the rage for the Skeltons, we had taken the 13/8 earlier in the week as the 3yo gelding Sea Of Moon started at 6/5. He produced a scintillating front-running display and is now as short as 6/1 for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. A 1m2f AW maiden winner on the Flat for Michael Bell, he's proved a revelation since switching codes and easily made it 3-3 over hurdles. Ridden aggressively, he hurdled beautifully throughout and impressively found another gear to pull readily clear of his chief market rival after the last. He still appeared full of running at the finish and must surely be considered the best juvenile hurdler to be seen in Britian this season.
Monday 6 January 2020
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19 March 2020
Monmouthshire NP16 6BE.
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