Evan Williams has confirmed that State Of Play will go straight to the Grand National next April without a prep race, meaning he will not have contested a race since last year’s excellent third placing an Aintree.
The 11-year-old finished fourth behind Mon Mome in 2009 and third to Don’t Push It last year and Williams believes the year-long break between races suits State Of Play:
“When he crossed the line last year, the plan was always to go straight to this year’s race and, as he’s doing his work as well as ever and enjoying life, that plan remains.
“He’s a horse that we’ve always done things slightly differently with. He won the Hennessy off a layoff and both of his John Smith’s Grand National runs have come off the back of long breaks, so he’s shown that he is at his best when he’s fresh.”
State Of Play is as big as 33-1 for the Grand National, despite his course form and being dropped 3lb for his third-placed effort at Aintree last April.
“The horse is a year older but he’s loving life and enjoying his work – that’s one of the benefits with not having many miles on the clock,” said Williams.
“The Grand National is such an important race and worth so much prize-money that when you have a horse that loves it like he does, it makes sense to prepare him with just that race in mind.
“He really does love Aintree and we’re lucky that he’ll go on any ground – soft, good or anything in between. If we can get him there in one piece and he runs another race like he has done the past two years, it will be a fantastic achievement for the horse.”