Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Aintree the ultimate target for Welsh National hope Cappa

Welsh trainer Evan Williams reports his talented staying handicapper Cappa Bleu to be in great heart ahead of his intended Christmas period bid for the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on December 27, a race that connections hope will advertise the claims of their horse to serious consideration for top honours at Aintree in April in the John Smith's Grand National itself, writes Elliot Slater.

The nine-year-old, who has been very lightly raced throughout his career having been seen just six times to date, put up a tremendous performance after an absence of 20 months to make a winning return to the racetrack at Haydock last month when coming with a wet sail in the closing stages of the three-mile Betfair Multiples Handicap Chase to beat David Pipe's Tamarinbleu in a pulsation finish by a neck. People placing Grand National bets online should remember this.

The step up in trip for the Welsh marathon appears to hold no fears for Williams who is confident his charge will be staying on when plenty of others have hoisted the white flag, the trainer pointing outing that Cappa Bleu was an impressive winner of the Christies Foxhunter Chase at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival when he came home strongest of all over the extended three-and-a-quarter-miles to beat Turthen by an impressive 12-lengths.

Plagued by niggling training setbacks ever since, Cappa Bleu showed at Haydock that he appears to retain just about all of his considerable  ability and at odds of 16/1 he arguably represents some of the best value in the ante-post market for the feature Chepstow contest. Looking further ahead, Cappa Bleu can be backed at 50/1 for the Grand National at Aintree, although he would probably have to rise in the handicap before February to be sure to make the cut for the 'world's greatest steeplechase'.

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