Cappa Bleu in pink for new Aintree tilt

Runner for runner, no trainer has a better record in picking up prize-money in the Grand National these days than Evan Williams. Admittedly, the sample is small and concerns only two horses, but a third place and three fourths from five attempts nonetheless deserves considerable respect.

Glamorgan-based Williams started his assault on the domestic jumps calendar's richest purse (worth £975,000 this time) four years ago, when State Of Play came in fourth to Mon Mome. Of the gelding's only four subsequent outings, three were in the National, including a third to Don't Push It and another fourth, to Ballabriggs. He came down early in last year's race, but had already passed on the stable baton to Cappa Bleu.

The sparing campaign plotted for State Of Play is being repeated for that 11-year-old, whose fine second place in a three-mile handicap at Ascot on Saturday was only his second outing since his fourth to Neptune Collonges at Aintree 10 months ago and will be his last before returning to the big fences in April.

"Our National horses are trained with one day, and one day only, in mind," said Williams, "and I was over the moon with what Cappa Bleu did at Ascot. He was in grand order this morning and I can't pretend to be anything but very, very happy."

Cappa Bleu was more than four lengths behind the winner Vino Griego at the final fence on Saturday, his first run for three months, but stayed on strongly under firm driving from Paul Moloney to halve the deficit at the line. "Racing properly over and from the last, with a couple of cracks on the backside, was just the thing for him," said Williams.

"Beforehand I'd been in two minds about another run before the National, he looked so big and well. But he will have got so much benefit from that race that there will be no need for him to leave our place before we go back to Aintree."

Cut after his eyecatching effort to 16-1 from as much as 25-1 in the ante-post National lists, Cappa Bleu – like State Of Play owned by banker and businessman William Rucker and his wife Angela – is now the shortest-priced of the home-trained contenders behind a trio from Ireland, Prince De Beauchene (likely to have his prep at Fairyhouse on Saturday), On His Own and Seabass.

One of the most intriguing horses to run today was Darley Sun, who had looked a top-class Flat stayer in the making for Godolphin when he ran away with the 2009 Cesarewitch, but subsequently disappointed. Now gelded and switched to the care of John Ferguson, the seven-year-old finished a satisfactory enough third on his hurdling debut at Market Rasen.

The 11-4 second favourite travelled easily throughout a steadily run race and appeared in cruise mode under Denis O'Regan as he shadowed the leaders going to the final flight, only to get too close to the obstacle and lose all momentum with a bunnyhop leap before rallying to finish two and a quarter lengths adrift of the 2-1 market leader Timesishard.

The Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Sydney Paget (3.40 Carlisle)

Upped in the ratings after an eased-down success at Towcester last month but the one in the field with scope for progress. A gruelling test in heavy ground holds no fears.

Next Best

Moscow Presents (2.00 Carlisle)

Profile is progressive, he goes on soft ground and the step up in trip can only help.

One To Watch

A plugging-on fifth at Market Rasen yesterday, Darlington County (Donald McCain) will surely be seen to better effect in handicap company.

Where The Money's Going

Up And Go, as short as 14-1 from 40-1 for the Neptune Novices' Hurdle, was the biggest Cheltenham mover among the weekend's winners.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
tv

News
VIDEO
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
news
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Ventilation Cleaning Operative

£15600 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower