Potters Corner: Trainer Christian Williams aims for real Grand National win

Potters Corner wins the Virtual Grand National from Walk In The Mill
Potters Corner wins the Virtual Grand National from Walk In The Mill

After winning the "Virtual Grand National", connections of Potters Corner have been left wondering what might have been.

The Welsh-trained 10-year-old would have been a contender for the 'real' Aintree race, cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

It was replaced by a televised CGI simulation decided by algorithms.

And Potters Corner - part owned by Wales and Lions rugby player Jonathan Davies - won at a price of 18/1.

Jack Tudor who would have been aboard the horse for his first Grand National believes the simulations are pretty accurate.

"The algorithms aren't usually wrong," said the 17-year-old Bridgend-based jockey, "so it's quite annoying because if Potters had run he probably wouldn't have been far away.

"We knew he had a good chance and for him not to run was sickening, but that's the way it goes. I knew he had a good chance in the National whether he won the virtual race or not!

"It was a bit of excitement during a bad time, it felt weird watching a race I was riding in."

Christian Williams, who trains Potters Corner in Ogmore-by-Sea, said: "It's brilliant - Potters is a great horse.

"It just shows what he could have done this year. We thought we had a chance and obviously it was called off, but we look forward to next year now."

"I went to see Potters on Saturday night to tell him he'd won and I gave him an extra scoop of nuts. He's on his summer holiday now and turned out in the field."

Potters Corner and jockey Jack Tudor won the real world Welsh National in 2019
Potters Corner and jockey Jack Tudor won the real world Welsh National in 2019

Williams hopes next year Potters Corner can prove the simulation right and triumph for real over the famous Aintree fences.

"I'm speaking with Jonathan (Davies) and his other owners about where we are going to aim him next season," said Williams.

"We might go for the Welsh Grand National in December and see if he can retain his crown there, but I don't want him to have many hard races before the 2021 Grand National.

"We thought he had a really good chance this year so that'll be our main aim next year. Jonathan enjoyed the virtual race. During these times of isolation everyone is sat in the house and they don't know what to do. On Saturday we all had that to look forward to."

A total of 4.8 million people tuned into Saturday's Virtual Grand National with the proceeds from the losing bets raising £2.6m for National Health Service charities.

The All Star Sports syndicate who own Potters Corner, including Scarlets centre Davies have urged anyone who won money on their horse to raise further funds for a good cause by donating to cancer charity Velindre through their JustGiving pageexternal-link.

"As a yard we'd love to continue to support Velindre. I'm considering owning a horse myself, running it in Velindre colours, and donating the prize money to charity," Williams said.

"Jonathan and I are going to write a few ideas down then we'll explain the plan to Potters Corner and see what he makes of it.

"What horse racing is doing for charity makes me feel proud to be a part of the sport. This is an opportunity in difficult times to do good."