Cappa Bleu took a promising first step on the road back to Aintree when second at Carlisle yesterday. In his first appearance since finishing fourth in the John Smith's Grand National, the former champion hunter jumped boldly before closing smoothly on the approach to the home turn as in-form favourite, Across The Bay, kicked 28 lengths clear. But he will have done no harm to his rating, and remained unchanged at a general 25-1 for the National.
Nine Flat riders, meanwhile, contest a novelty hurdle race at Lingfield today, albeit the eligibility of Jamie Goldstein – with 100 jump winners to his name – would seem a little contentious. Watch out for Eddie Ahern, a natural in the hunting field.
CHRIS McGRATH'S NAP: Dizzy River (3.50 Sedgefield)
Shaped nicely for an inadequate test round Ludlow last time.
NEXT BEST: Blackwaterking (12.50 Sedgefield)
Just outstayed in very demanding conditions on debut for this stable.
ONE TO WATCH: His Kempton third promised plenty from Wallenberg (John Gosden) in middle-distance handicaps.
WHERE THE MONEY'S GOING: Al Ferof is 7-1 from 12-1 with Ladbrokes for the Paddy Power Gold Cup.