The Christian Williams trained Potters Corner has decided to snub his title defence in the Welsh Grand National in favour of staying down the Cross Country Route.
Although Williams would love a crack at defending the title in the Chepstow feature, he is looking to focus the horse at the Cheltenham festival and then the Grand National at Aintree, with his chance at the event last term scuppered by the ongoing crisis in the world.
The gelding has been a superb yardstick for the Welsh yard after landing the Welsh National last year and since then saved for this term, with his comeback run at Cheltenham being one to take note of, finishing a staying on third in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham November meeting.
Instead of heading to Chepstow he will now head back to Cheltenham at their December meeting for another crack at the Cross Country event and he will be looking to go two places better in this event than he did in November.
(Credit ATR) Williams said: “I know the horse well and I know how long it took him to recover last year.
“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.“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.”