Trainer Evan Williams is optimistic Cappa Bleu will return to action next season for a third crack at the Crabbie's Grand National.

The Aintree stalwart, second and fourth in the last two runnings of the world's greatest steeplechase, knocked a joint last month after making his reappearance with a solid run over hurdles at Carlisle in November and will miss the rest of the campaign.

While the injury is not serious, connections are taking no chances and the 12-year-old is recuperating at the home of his owners, William and Angela Rucker.

"I talked to Mr and Mrs Rucker on Saturday. He's fine, everything's grand, but he won't be coming back into training this season," said Williams.

"He'll be fine and he'll be back, fingers crossed, at some stage in the future next season, but he will not be trained for the Grand National this year.

"He's gone back home and they do such a wonderful job looking after him and all of their horses. He's gone back there for a quiet time and we'll have him again next year.

"It was a knock to the joint. The scan is a little bit inconclusive and it's just one of those things. We could probably bring him back and force him there, but you can't do that with Grand National horses.

"You've got to have a clear run all through. If you don't, you are kidding yourself.

"Horses like that are very hard to come by. They need looking after and you can't afford to go about things in a slap-dash way. He's got very few miles on the clock and the old boy will be well looked after."