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
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
Life and Style
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice