Potters Corner provided the home nation with their first win in the Welsh National for over fifty years and following up his win in the Midlands National in March off a ten pounds higher mark. Christian Williams' stable star was positioned to the fore throughout and jumped beautifully. Partnered by conditional Jack Tudor, he stayed on strongly having taken up the running at the third last. The nine year old prevailed by a length and three quarters and provided his rookie trainer with his biggest success to date. Ironically, Paul Nicholls trained the second and third, a stable for whom Christian enjoyed a lot of success when riding. It was a fine display and an excellent result for the Christmas Special having been advised at 9/1. Thank you to those clients who have emailed on Friday evening, it is much appreciated.
Henry De Bromhead has had a couple of tremendous days at Leopardstown with two Grade 1 victories, plus a Grade 2 success. A Plus Tard, who won the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in the spring, lowered the colours of Chacun Pour Soi in the Grade 1 two miles one chase under Rachel Blackmore. Runner-up on his reappearance at Navan last month, he improved markedly from that performance and there appeared to be no fluke about his three and three quarters of a length win. He is likely to return to Leopardstown in early February for the Dublin Racing Festival and it will be interesting to see if the Champion or Ryanair Chase is his target at the Festival in March. He proved on Friday that he is a genuine Grade 1 chaser.
While it was disappointing to see the runner-up failed to land his second Grade 1 chase, he remains an exciting prospect and could yet go close in the Queen Champion Chase. Having his first run since the spring, the winner had a fitness advantage. While delivered to win the race rounding the home turn, one wonders if Paul Townend could ride the race again he would have held on to his mount for longer, plus he raced wide for the majority of the race and may have benefited from more cover. Therefore I would say all is not lost for those holding ante-post vouchers about the ex-French gelding.
Despite making a bad mistake at the last, I was impressed with Fury Road's win in the Grade 2 staying novices' hurdle at Limerick. Davy Russell's mount toyed with the opposition for the majority of the race and looked set to win without coming off the bridle approaching the final flight. However, Gordon Elliott's charge blundered and gave his rivals a sniff. Driven out by Russell, he is a high-class prospect who has Albert Bartlett NH written all over him, as suggested in the Christmas Special.
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