CHEPSTOW’S big meeting of the year on Friday saw a rare example of a Welsh-owned, trained and ridden winner of the Coral Welsh Grand National.

When the Christian Williams-trained Potters Corner drew up to the leaders at the first fence in the straight the excitement mounted, and when he was sent ahead by 17-year-old Jack Tudor three out, the outcome was soon in no doubt.

A pair of Paul Nicholls horses filled the next two places and in fourth came Prime Venture, trained by Evan Williams. Evan’s father Rhys used to ride a horse for Denzil Jenkins called Norther in point-to-points. Norther was the last Welsh-trained winner of the Welsh National, back in 1965. With the current standard of trainers and horses, we shouldn’t have to wait another 54 years for the next one. The Aintree National must be the next big target for Potters Corner.

The other big race on the card, the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle, was won by the 6/5 favourite Allmankind, who looks a right tearaway. However, despite charging off in front on the heavy ground he stayed there to make it 3-3 over the sticks. The Skelton-trained and ridden horse is now 8/1 second favourite for the Triumph Hurdle on the Friday of the Cheltenham Festival.

Looking back at 2019, our local racing personalities have plenty to celebrate.

David Evans had possibly the best two-year-old he has ever trained, Good Vibes. She won at Salisbury in May before taking a Listed race at York. Later she returned to the Knavesmire to take third place in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes and she finished the year with a victory in Newmarket’s Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes. She’s earned over £100,000 in prize money.

Despite a few quiet spells, Evans’ 67th winner of 2019 came on Monday when Bond Angel sprang a 25/1 surprise at Lingfield, capitalising on being near the front in a slowly-run race and getting up in a finish of heads and necks. It was the filly’s fourth win of the year.

Ron Harris equalled last year’s total of 26 winners on the flat. Remarkably, betting £1 on all of his runners would have yielded £39.58 profit. His Eye Of The Water won four races and improved 32 pounds in the process.

Highlights for the Bernard Llewellyn yard included his win with Ascot Day in May at Chepstow in a race he sponsored on behalf of the charity Tenovus. Granddaughter Jessica won the Ladies’ Derby at Epsom in July, coming from well off the pace to triumph. In the autumn came a purple patch where the yard had six winners in as many weeks.

Grace Harris had her best year on the flat, with seven winners, and has already equalled her highest National Hunt season’s total with five on the scoreboard already. Bungee Jump won three times on Chepstow’s straight course. Field Exhibition’s three successes and a 32 pound rise in the ratings entitled her to have a crack at the Welsh National, but she appeared not to stay.

Wales’ winning-most flat jockey, David Probert, finished the year with a personal best score of 112. His agent is certainly doing a good job, because they came from 1,209 rides, over 300 more than he had been booked for in previous years. Probert is now just 19 away from the 1,000-winner milestone.

Chepstow race again on Monday, 6th, with admission only £12 if booked in advance. There’s a two-course carvery offer in The View Restaurant for just £45 per person including admission.