Potters Corner not certain to defend Welsh National title

Last year’s Coral Welsh National winner Potters Corner heads 51 entries for the 2020 renewal – but he is not certain to defend his Chepstow crown next month.

Christian Williams’ charge sparked jubilant scenes after landing the extended three-mile-six-furlong marathon last December, with his owners including Wales rugby star Jonathan Davies.

The 10-year-old’s Grand National bid was then scuppered by the Covid-19 lockdown, but he reappeared with a fine third in Cheltenham’s cross-country chase last week, beaten seven lengths on what was his first outing over non-regulation fences.

While Williams has entered Potters Corner for the Welsh National again, Aintree in April is the long-term target and the trainer has yet to discuss the route to Merseyside with the gelding’s owners.

He said: “I’ve not spoken to the owners yet, but obviously we’ve given him the entry in the race and we can make a decision later.

“It would be hard to pass up a big race like that, but we want to win the Grand National – which is a pretty big race too!

“Weight rises wouldn’t be the worry as much as he’s a 10-year-old now, so you don’t know how many more Nationals he will have in him and we thought the cross-country route might just give him a bit more longevity.

“I’ll have to talk to the owners and see what they want to do.”

Williams has also entered Kitty’s Light in the December 27 feature following his staying-on third in the Badger Beers Silver Trophy at Wincanton earlier this month.

The four-year-old has won three of his five starts over fences so far and Williams believes a stern test of stamina could play to his strengths, although he would have to defy the statistics with six-year-olds being the youngest winners in modern times.

He added: “Kitty’s Light is entered and the track would suit him a lot better than Wincanton. He just couldn’t quick get his jumping together there over three miles.

“We just never seem to get to the bottom of him, he just seemed to be getting going and he finished with his ears pricked at Wincanton. He looks like he could be made for this sort of trip.”

Celebrations for the Native River team at Chepstow in 2016
Celebrations for the Native River team at Chepstow in 2016 (Nick Potts/PA)

Colin Tizzard has won the race twice in the last four years and has 2016 victor Native River and last season’s Reynoldstown winner Copperhead among his possible team this time.

Notachance, Ramses De Teillee, Yala Enki and Lord Du Mesnil are also entered, along with Kim Bailey’s Newtide, who took part in a racecourse school with stablemate Vinndication at Newbury on Tuesday.

Bailey said: “He is in at Haydock on Saturday and he will probably either run there or go to the Rehearsal Chase the following weekend. His long-term aim is the Welsh National.”

Six entries from Ireland include Tony Martin’s At The Acorn and the Paul Nolan-trained Discorama.

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