The Randox Health Grand National
|Grade 3 Handicap,
£1,000,000 total prize fund,
7yo plus, 4m 2f 74y, Class 1
|Saturday 10th April 2021|
Potters Corner is the winner of the 2⃣0⃣2⃣0⃣ Virtual Grand National!— ITV Racing (@itvracing) April 4, 2020
A Welsh winner of the Virtual National! 🏴 pic.twitter.com/OUwK8pBdjK
Wales rugby centre and part-owner Jonathan Davies admitted the victory of Potters Corner in the Virtual Grand National provided a bittersweet finish to the season.
Davies, who shares the 10-year-old with All Stars Sports Racing, had already enjoyed a memorable Welsh National win with Potters Corner at Christmas, adding to his Midlands National success of last term.
Trainer Christian Williams had long set his sights on the Aintree feature, but with the real race cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Potters Corner instead triumphed in a computer-generated substitute – leaving Davies somewhat conflicted in triumph.
He told TalkSPORT: “It is massively (bittersweet). When the race finished I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry to be honest. I am still hoping some virtual prize-money might come in at some point!
“It was interesting to see and I think with the situation everyone is in at the moment, everyone just enjoyed some virtual sport.
“I was in the living room watching with my fiancee. She was wincing when the horses were going down because I think she couldn’t quite grasp it was a computer.
“I kind of got into it, but at the end I wished I was in the owner’s parade ring ready to go and celebrate properly.”
Over £2.6million was raised for NHS Charities Together, the umbrella organisation which represents over 140 NHS charities, through betting on the virtual race.
Davies added: “It was amazing to see how much money was raised for the NHS on Saturday. I would quite happily donate the virtual winnings to a good cause like that.”
As for Potters Corner, he is winding down at Williams’ Vale of Glamorgan base ahead of next season, with jumps racing on hold until July 1.
Davies said: “He’s probably in a field eating lots of grass getting heavy again. Christian is taking great care of him.
“He got him in great shape leading up to the race. We were really happy about how he was looking before the race was cancelled. He is probably just chilling now like everyone else.
“He was peaking for this race, it is a huge shame but there are more important things going on in the world right now than a horse race.”
Despite missing out on the Aintree experience, Davies is enjoying his foray into racehorse ownership, with his interest initially sparked by family members.
He explained: “It was my grandfather (who got me into racing). My uncle is also a big horse enthusiast, and I would always listen to my grandfather call in his bets as a kid.
“For me I had a good friend in rugby in Gareth Maule and he got friendly with Christian Williams. We always said we would get a horse and we have struck gold with Potters.
“He won the Midlands National last year, he won the Welsh National at the end of the year. For a group of us to be involved in horse racing and have some wins behind us, we have had a great time with Potters.”
Jessica Harrington has confirmed that 2019 Grand National runner-up Magic Of Light will once again be aimed at the world's greatest steeplechase at Aintree in April.
The Ann and Alan Potts-trained nine-year-old was a 66-1 shot when running the Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll close in the last running of the world’s most valuable jumps race, eventually succumbing to a two-and-three-quarter-length defeat under Paddy Kennedy to the delight of punters and the despair of bookmakers.
Randox Health Grand National
Grade 3, £1,000,000 Total Prize Fund.
7yo plus, 4m 2f 74y, Class 1