WORCESTERSHIRE’S Aintree stalwart Cappa Bleu, second and fourth in the last two Grand Nationals, is to miss this year’s Crabbie’s-sponsored showpiece.

The 12-year-old, who returned to action with a solid run over hurdles at Carlisle in November, suffered an injury last month.

Trainer Evan Williams said: “It’s a real blow for the yard and the horse’s owners, William and Angela Rucker, because he’s already finished fourth and second in a National and there was no reason why he wouldn’t have run well once more this time around.”

Williams added: “As things stand the plan is to bring him back next season, even though he will be rising 13 next winter.

“It’s possible he might not return, but we are going to give him every opportunity because Cappa Bleu is a horse with relatively few miles on the clock.”

The Ruckers, based at Himbleton, near Worcester, are one of the leading point-to-point owners in the county and had high hopes for Cappa Bleu finally making the winner’s enclosure in this year’s event.