Welsh Grand National hero Potters Corner may well be taking a trip over to France soon to run in a hurdle race at Auteuil. The Listed Prix Hubert D’Aillieres on March 7th has been earmarked as the ten-year-old’s next possible engagement before he tackles the Aintree Grand National 2020 the following month.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Potters Cross has run on the other side of the Channel. Last May, his trainer Christian Williams ran him in the Prix du Vivarais Hurdle at Auteuil, where he finished fifth of nine to the very useful Blue Dragon.
Although Potters Corner has yet to experience the National fences, Williams is confident he will manage them and progress from those at Chepstow.
He said: “I wasn’t massively sure he would jump round Aintree until his win at Chepstow, but he has been good all this year. Last season things didn’t go for him, but he still won a Midlands National.
“He travelled lovely at Chepstow and he doesn’t get behind the bridle like most staying chasers do. He travels nicely on the bridle and I’m hoping Aintree will suit him.”
It appears that a day out to Henrietta Knight’s place has been the secret to his big race successes with Williams saying: “I will take him down to Henrietta Knight’s before France, if we go there, as I did that before the Midlands National and before the Welsh National.
“It gets him out of the yard and seems to be working. It was nice to have another set of eyes look at him before the Welsh National and tell me he looked well, it gave me a bit more confidence.”
If anybody knows the time of day when it comes to a top staying chaser then it’s the multiple Gold Cup winning trainer Henrietta Knight, whose input must be invaluable to the up and coming trainer. Potters Corner is currently 25/1 antepost for the Grand National.
Red Letter Day
Last Saturday’s Peter Marsh Chase was won by Vintage Clouds who certainly won’t be heading back to Aintree for the Grand National, but one horse that will be is the running on late runner-up, Definitly Red.
His trainer Brian Ellison was more than happy with the performance put in by his National hope and said: “The ground was a bit tacky, which doesn’t suit him, but we’re happy with the performance with that weight.
“He’s been running well this year, but he has raced a bit lazily. The plan is to go to Kelso next month and then Aintree. We’re going to put some cheekpieces on him at Kelso to see if they sharpen him up, and if they do we might run him in them in the National.”
Definitly Red is currently 33/1 antepost for the National.
Let’s All Have A Disco
Today’s Thyestes Chase may once again give us one or two pointers to the 2020 Grand National in April. Many Irish trainers use this race as a Gold Cup/Grand National springboard and generally speaking horses tend to take up just one of those two options.
The Paul Nolan-trained Discorama looks to have a good profile as a Grand National horse, especially based upon his run in last season’s 4-miler at the Cheltenham Festival.
He had been entered in today’s race at Gowran Park but was withdrawn and will almost certainly get a Grand National entry. That said, connections have also entered him into the Gold Cup so no definite course of action for the Andrew Gemmell and Thomas Friel-owned seven-year-old just yet.
If he has a decent run between now and April 4th, expect his current ante-post odds of 50/1 to tumble!