Fehily to ride Aintree regular State Of Play

 

Having gained overdue reward in the Champion Hurdle last month, one of the most respected veterans on the circuit has now been given the chance to complete his fulfilment in the John Smith's Grand National itself. If Noel Fehily happens to win on State Of Play at Aintree on Saturday week, however, it would be no less a triumph of patience for the owners and trainer of his mount.

For the Aintree specialist has once again been given an extraordinarily daring preparation by Evan Williams. Since Boxing Day 2008, State Of Play has had just four starts. All but one of them have been in the Grand National, in the last three runnings of which he has finished fourth, third and fourth respectively – in the process vindicating Williams' conviction that he is best when absolutely fresh.

Williams yesterday revealed that Fehily had been booked for State Of Play after Paul Maloney, his partner in each previous attempt, elected to ride the rejuvenated Cappa Bleu instead. Williams hopes to saddle a third runner, in Deep Purple, but stressed that he is "desperately" keen to see rain on Merseyside next week if they are all to take their chance.

Despite the dry spring, watering has maintained the current going on the National course as good, good to soft in places. The track management is monitoring an unsettled forecast for next week.

History is in the offing on the first day of the meeting when Big Buck's seeks to claim outright the record he shares with Sir Ken following a 16th consecutive success over jumps, at Cheltenham last month. His owner, Andy Stewart, confirmed that he will run in the BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle.

"Obviously, he had a race at Cheltenham, but he just seems to recover so quickly," Stewart said. "You wouldn't have known he had a race at Cheltenham – he could have gone round again. After the race the reaction of the crowd was quite overwhelming. It's an absolute privilege to be a part of it.

"And Big Buck's has never been beaten at Aintree. He ran in a chase the year before he won his first Liverpool Hurdle and, despite hitting every fence in the back straight, still managed to get up and beat Albertas Run."

So You Think, fourth in the Dubai World Cup, has been given the option of dropping to a mile as one of 19 possible rivals for Frankel in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on 19 May.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Apothecary (7.00 Wolverhampton) Denied only in a photo on handicap debut over course and distance, despite a troubled passage. Demonstrably entitled to go close again off a mark just 2lb higher.

Next best

Trop Fort (2.50 Exeter) Has got his act together since fitted with blinkers and was reeled in only close home after being kicked clear a long way out at Hereford last time.

One to watch

Captain Bertie (Charles Hills) Unlucky not to land a gamble at Doncaster on Saturday, caught in heavy traffic. While he did not build on a promising return last year, he may prove a different proposition as a gelding.

Where the money's going

Four Commanders is 10-1 from 12-1 with the sponsors for the Ladbrokes Irish National at Fairyhouse on Monday. Most Improved is in continued demand with Coral for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, and is now 9-2 from 6-1.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
Extras
indybest
News
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Extras
indybest
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

Digital Project Manager/BA

£300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An experienced Digital/Ecommerc...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Test Lead (C#, Java, HTML, SQL) Kingston Finance

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

Access/Teradata Developer, Banking, Bristol £400pd

£375 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Access / Teradata Developer - Banking - Bristol -...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home