Bleu Camp Growing In Confidence Ahead Of Grand National

Evan Williams, trainer of the talented staying handicapper Cappa Bleu, is already getting excited about the prospect of running his horse in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on April 14, a race in which his stable stalwart State of Play has finished in the money on each of the last three renewals, writes Elliot Slater.

State of Play, a 40/1 chance to win the race at the fourth time of asking at the age of 12, is set to line-up alongside Cappa Bleu and possibly another Williams-trained runner in the shape of former smart chaser Deep Purple, but it is Cappa Bleu, a fine third in the Grade 3 Coral Welsh National at Chepstow at the end of December who seems to be the main hope for the yard having now conclusively proved that he does stay a marathon trip. Those looking at the latest online horse racing betting should remember this.

Competing at Chepstow on ground far softer than ideal for him, Cappa Bleu nonetheless ran a fine race in the three-and-three-quarter-mile contest run on bottomless heavy ground, mudlark Le Beau Bai going on to take the spoils ahead of Giles Cross with Williams’ charge an honourable third having stayed with the front pair until between the final fences, after which Paul Moloney eased his mount off when it was clear his wining chance had gone.

Williams reports his 10-year-old to have recovered particularly well from his Chepstow exertions and hopes that the handicapper well allot his horse a decent racing weight and that the ground on the day of the big race is no worse than ‘Good to Soft’. Such conditions would give Cappa Bleu the best possible chance of proving himself in the ‘worlds’ greatest steeplechase’, a race for which bookmakers currently offer odds of around 25/1 about the Welsh National third going two places better at Aintree on the biggest stage of all.