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2020 Welsh Grand National Trends

The Welsh Grand National has always been a big highlight over the festive period. With 3m 5 ½f to cover at Chepstow racecourse then stamina is a ‘must-have’ requirement when it comes to finding the winner, while if you like your trends you might want to know that 16 of the 18 winners have been aged 9 or younger, while 14 of the last 18 winners carried 11-0 or less.

This year the race was set to be run on Sunday 27th December 2020, but cancelled due to a waterlogged track.

However, the good news is that the Welsh Grand National has been rescheduled for Saturday 9th January 2021.

 

Recent Welsh National Winners

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2019 - POTTERS CORNER (8/1)
2018 – ELEGANT ESCAPE (3/1 fav)
2017 - RAZ DE MAREE (16/1)
2016 – NATIVE RIVER (11/4 fav)
2015 – MOUNTAINOUS (9/1)
2014 – EMPEROR’S CHOICE (9/1)
2013 -  MOUNTAINOUS (20/1)
2012 – MONBEG DUDE (10/1)
2011 – LE BEAU BAI (10/1)
2010 – SYNCHRONISED (5/1)
2009 – DREAM ALLIANCE (20/1)
2008 – NOTRE PERE (16/1)
2007 – MIKO de BEAUCHENE(13/2)
2006 – HALCON GENELARDAIS (7/1)
2005 – L’AVENTURE (14/1)
2004 – SILVER BIRCH (10/3 fav)
2003 – BINDAREE (10/1)
2002 – MINI SENSATION (8/1)

Key Welsh National Betting Trends

18/18 – Had won between 1-5 chase races before
18/18 – Raced within the last 7 weeks
18/18 – Had won over at least 3m before (fences)
16/18 – Aged 9 or younger
16/18 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
14/18 – Carried 11-0 or less in weight
13/18 – Aged 8 or younger
12/18 – Carried 10-8 or less in weight
12/18 – Had won just 2 or 3 times before over fences
12/18 – Returned 10/1 or shorter in the betting
11/18 – Irish bred
9/18 – Had won over fences at Chepstow before
7/18 – Unplaced favourites
7/18 – Won last time out
6/18 – French bred
6/18 – Had run in the Welsh National before
5/18 – Ran at Chepstow last time out
3/18 – Winning favourites
2/18 – Trained by Colin Tizzard
2/18 – Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
2/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
The average winning SP in the last 18 years is 10/1

 

 

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Williams relaxed about possibility of heading straight to Festival with Potters Corner

Christian Williams Williams would have no qualms about sending Potters Corner to the Cheltenham Festival without another run.

Last season’s Welsh National winner was due to run in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase on Friday, having finished third over the unique fences last month.

However, Williams was forced to rule him out of the race with a dirty scope and while it is not certain, he could wait until March to run his stable star again – with the Grand National in April his main aim.

“We’ll just look at the cross-country in March and the Grand National now,” said Williams.

“If he’d won on Friday he’d probably have had 10lb more to carry in the Grand National anyway.

“The way he jumped the fences in November I wouldn’t have thought he’d have needed another run over them before March – I was delighted with him from halfway.

Victory for Potters Corner sparked joyous scenes at Chepstow
Victory for Potters Corner sparked joyous scenes at Chepstow (David Davies/PA)

“Cheltenham are good to us, we gave him a little school over them the other day, which was when we found the dirty scope. We’ll probably do the same in March before the Festival.

“I don’t want to say he definitely won’t run again before March, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he didn’t as he could even go to Punchestown too, so there’s plenty of races at that time of year.”

He added: “It would have been nice for his owners to run, but I’m sure they won’t lose any sleep.

“What with Easysland out as well it’s unfortunate for Cheltenham as it looked a really classy race at the five-day stage.

“We take Cap Du Nord to school over the fences with him and he absolutely loves it. He might be one further down the line for these races.”

Easysland swerves Cheltenham outing on Friday

Easysland will not attempt back-to-back victories in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Friday.

The six-year-old, trained in France by David Cottin, was surprisingly beaten on his seasonal debut when only fourth to Kingswell Theatre over the course and distance last month.

He was odds-on favourite that day despite the presence of Tiger Roll, having beaten the dual Grand National hero comprehensively at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

It looked as if Easysland, owned by JP McManus, was going to return the Cotswolds for the race he won by seven lengths 12 months ago. However, Cottin is disappointed their horse would meet the first three that day – Kingswell Theatre, Beau De Brizais and Potters Corner – on worse terms, although an unsatisfactory scope means Potters Corner also misses the race.

Celebrations for the Easysland team at Cheltenham in March
Celebrations for the Easysland team at Cheltenham in March (Simon Cooper/PA)
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Cottin said: “Firstly let me report that Easysland is fit and well, and I am very happy with the horse.

“Unfortunately this weekend we won’t be going to Cheltenham to run in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase as I found it disappointing that the handicapper should see fit that we would meet the winner on 4lb worse terms despite being beaten by nine lengths, the second who beat us by four lengths, also on 4lb worse terms and the third horse on 1lb worse terms.

“Disappointed not to be going to Cheltenham this weekend, as it has been on his programme for the year and while his handicap mark was left at 167 which I have no difficulty with.

“It is hard to understand that we are to meet the winner, second and third on worse terms than the last day, considering they are both handicaps.

“We are very disappointed he is not going and having discussed with the owner, we had no choice. We did raise it with the BHA (British Horseracing Authority), but had no success.

“Hopefully we will be back at Cheltenham next March in good form.

Potters Corner will not run at Cheltenham on Friday
Potters Corner will not run at Cheltenham on Friday (Clint Hughes/PA)

The Cheltenham race had been due to see a second run over the unique obstacles for Welsh National winner Potters Corner, as he treads a path aimed at the Grand National.

However, trainer Christian Williams tweeted on Tuesday: “Potters Corner returned an unsatisfactory scope following his final preparation for Friday’s Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham.

“He will not run and was immediately scratched from the race at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Potters Corner to miss Chepstow in favour of cross country campaign

Christian Williams has decided to take the Tiger Roll route to Aintree with Potters Corner, and will skip a defence of this month’s Welsh Grand National in favour of the cross country chases at Cheltenham.

Potters Corner was a famous home winner at Chepstow last year, owned and trained by proud Welshmen, so the decision to stay away this time must have been a tough one – but Williams is adamant he is doing the best thing by the 10-year-old.

Potters Corner finished third on his first run over Cheltenham’s cross country course last month, and is set to return next week and then again at the Festival in March.

“I know the horse well and I know how long it took him to recover last year,” said Williams.

“I told the owners last year he only had a certain amount of those National-type races left in him – and with the cross-country races, they are constantly on the turn and it’s not the same endurance.

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“The ground is never too soft either, because they only race on it three times a year, (so) it doesn’t get opened up.

“It’s completely different – after he ran in the cross country last month, he could probably have run somewhere else the next day. But after the Welsh National, we were goosed for months before he was back to himself.

“We think he could win the Welsh National again this year, but I put it to the owners that we could go to Cheltenham with a realistic chance and still have him for Aintree – and they were brilliant about it.

“We think he’s got a good chance at Aintree – it will suit him, and we also think he deserves to go to the Festival with a chance.

“It was his first time over the fences the other day, so we rode him conservatively but we were delighted how he took to it. We’ll probably ride him further forwards next time and further forwards again in March – and he always comes on for a run.”

Williams will also scratch his other Welsh National entry, four-year-old Kitty’s Light – who was placed in the Badger Beers Trophy last time out.

He added: “Kitty’s Light will be scratched as well. He’s only four, so we might look at the Rowland Meyrick with him, and his main aim will either be the Bet365 Gold Cup or even the Scottish National – we’ll work backwards from there.”

The trainer saddled a good winner at Newbury on Saturday in Cap Du Nord, and this time next year Chepstow could be on his agenda.

“Cap Du Nord might just be a staying chaser in time,” he said.

“He’s been a great horse for us. I think he’s the type who copes better in better races. We thought he was better than his rating, and he’s in a better place this year.

“He could be a Scottish National type. I don’t want to say he doesn’t go on soft yet, but he broke the track record at Newbury.

“He’ll probably go to Kempton on December 27 for a 0-140 – and then I’d have thought the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster, which I won as a jockey on Big Fella Thanks, would be the race for him.”

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.

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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.

Cross country option for Potters Corner

Potters Corner could kick off his campaign in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham next week.

The 10-year-old gave Christian Williams the biggest success of his training career so far when lifting the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow last Christmas, with his owners famously including Welsh rugby star Jonathan Davies.

Potters Corner was then due to head to the Grand National at Aintree, which was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but he did still claim a victory of sorts because he came home first in a virtual edition of the great race, which raised £2.6million for NHS charities.

Williams took his stable star to school over Cheltenham’s cross country course on Wednesday and could now give him an entry in next Friday’s three-mile-six-furlong event, the first of three such heats run at the track over the season.

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He said: “He’s in good form, and we just thought the cross country route might give him a few more options, this season and next.

“Those staying chases are quite specialist, and you don’t want to be running in them every other week, so the other options for him are hurdles or those cross country races.

“He schooled very well – he seemed to enjoy it and he will probably get an entry at Cheltenham next Friday. I don’t think you go into those races first time thinking you’ll win – I don’t know how much experience you need.

“It might give him a bit more longevity, and if he’s badly handicapped you can have a look at the cross country route.”

Potters Corner also won the Midlands National in 2019
Potters Corner also won the Midlands National in 2019 (Clint Hughes/PA)

Dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll won the cross country event at the Cheltenham Festival before each of his Aintree wins.

Williams added: “It has worked out well for Tiger Roll – he’s a special horse, but so is Potters Corner.”

The Glamorgan trainer confirmed a delayed date with destiny in the Grand National is the top priority this term, although an exact course to Aintree in April has yet to be mapped.

“Aintree is the main aim this year,” added Williams.

“Obviously he won the Welsh National last year – but whether we want to run there again or look to Aintree, we’ll have to see what the owners want to do.”