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Betfair Bowl preview

Aintree Festival time and what a cracking day to kick it off. Never mind the impossible handicap that grabs all the attention on Saturday, there is genuine Grade 1 action on Thursday and Friday at Aintree. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a writer, or just want to have a crack at a preview, I have most races still available if you are interested. Send me your details in the comments, I won't publish it but will contact you directly.

Previewing the Grade 1 Chase which has been known as the Betfair Bowl, Totesport Bowl and no doubt several other names over the years, is blog regular Jon da Silva, @creamontop.

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Betfred Bowl Chase, Grade 1.

3 miles 1f
Good Ground expected


There is a suggestion this race is the graveyard of horses who've run well at Cheltenham. However having opposed many of those who ran badly here I generally thought there were reasons to bar trends. Take Denman who never could take a tight bend and Imperial Commander who probably could not either nor back up a run. Kauto increasingly had to be fresh said his trainer before throwing him a few weeks later at this race.

As such Silviniaco Conti and First Lieutenant stand out on form. The former won a Grade 1 and 2 before falling when in contention for the Gold Cup. The latter led both the Hennessey and the Lexus and was only denied by the strong finish of Tidal Bay in Ireland. His form at an easier 3 mile trip than the Gold Cup is right there even if he leaves a suspicion he cruises but does not finish. Main negative is he's had five runs to Conti's three. Was outpaced rather than run to a stop last time at Cheltenham. Silviniaco fell three out in the Gold Cup.

You can make a case for The Giant Bolster on good ground but till he shows his best form on a flat track I will ignore. On ratings he's right there and maybe on faster ground he would have challenged the front three at Cheltenham. If anyone had a hard race to exhaustion it was him. 9/1.

Quito de la Roque (QdlR) has won over course and distance on good ground. The form of his and that year's novices does not match last year's in my view - beat Sarando (who?) a neck. Beat Sizing Europe in a Grade 1 so like Follow the Plan maybe under rated. 10/1 for those who want to do the missed Cheltenham thing.

Menorah beats any attempt to describe his preferences. Arguably was the least poorly suited to a grade 2 on heavy at Kempton over 21 furlongs and is thus not forlorn at 14s even if pulled up last time. Not one I could tip with any confidence. Not shown he gets three miles either.

Cape Tribulation was not disgraced in the Gold Cup and previously collected the Argento. 10/1. Hard to read but does not quite look a Grade 1 animal to me. Seems more of a staying type than required here.

Wayward Prince has a ton to find on most form. Beaten by QdlR here 2 years ago under similar conditions. Did beat QdlR in December over course and distance and beat The Giant Bolster raw here in a novice hurdle years ago. Could make an EW case if as in other years I expected several of the top ones to have an off day but I don't. Maybe a Place only bet ? 66/1

Whodoyouthink may not have a great chance of winning but could take Silviniaco on up front. Again if you are down on the favs a Black Swan place candidate. 100/1.

Conclusion

First Lieutenant has better form than twice beating The Giant Bolster 7L on a flat track like the 10/11 Silviniacio Conti IMO but not on ratings I accept. First Lieutenant comes not from the Gold Cup and is at worst the 2nd best horse in this race. I think trip and track and ground will not faze him. I would have him closer to the favourite in the betting. Of those missing Cheltenham or in Menorah's case went missing I have most confidence in Quito de la Roque.

First Lieutenant 7/2 is the value for me.

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