Potters Corner has come out on top in the 2020 Virtual Grand National.
With the real thing cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the computer simulation captured the imagination, with bookmakers donating all profits to National Health Service charities.
It proved an epic edition of the world’s most famous steeplechase, with the Christian Williams-trained Potters Corner (18-1) clinging on under teenage rider Jack Tudor to hold off the challenge of Walk In The Mill on the run home from the Elbow.
Any Second Now was third and dual National winner Tiger Roll a gallant fourth. Burrows Saint was fifth, but Aso was the hard-luck story, coming down two fences out when in the lead.
The victory, shown in a special program on ITV and with the race run at what would have been the real start time of 5.15pm, completed a National treble for the Christian Williams-trained Potters Corner, after victories in the Welsh National and Midlands National.
“I’m delighted. It’s great and great to cheer everyone up in tough times. I think even people from outside of racing were tuned in,” Williams said.
“It was something for people to cheer on. People are stuck in their houses and it probably got a good viewing. It was something to watch together and have a bit of banter leading up to it.”
Williams said the last part of the race panned out pretty much as the real thing might have done.
“In the Welsh National they closed on him at the death as well, so I had a fair idea they might do it like that from the Elbow,” he said.
“I didn’t think they’d let him past. He stays very well and if it’s done on the computer and stats I doubt they’d let anyone outstay him up the run-in.
Williams said the real-life Potters Corner was enjoying life at home in south Wales.
“He’s in the field with two foals, two quite valuable foals from France, and he’s quite a calming influence. They use him as a bit of a guide, as he’s such a good, kind horse.
“We’re not too bad, we’re just praying everyone is safe. The sooner we can get back racing the better, but there’s no panic. If we can get back (jumps) racing by July 1, then brilliant, but if it’s not right, it’s not right.”