The Betfred Bowl is a ascinating Grade 1 chase on the first day of the Aintree Festival and it looks a cracking renewal on paper.
All eyes and most people’s money will be on the odds on, Paul Nicholls trained Silviniaco Conti (Evens with Betfred). He was still travelling well when he took a heavy fall 3 out in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He was many people’s idea of the winner that day had a stood up and he definitely sets the standard.
I have two main worries that stop me from backing him. The main one is the heavily fall he had that day at Cheltenham. This race comes less than 3 weeks after the race that day, it was a very heavy fall that day. A full face plant into the ground and a winding slide across the floor for good measure. I don’t think it will affect his confidence as he is such a good jumper however I cannot back a horse at any price that attempts to win a grade 1 chase less than 3 weeks after a fall like that.
The second worry, after accounting for my last point, is his price. Evens at the moment but will probably go off shorter on the day. Yes he is almost a stone clear on official ratings and probably deserves to be the price he is but he comes here after a hard race that ended up with a heavily fall and there are others who make greater appeal at the prices. Conti winning is the most likely outcome but far too big a risk that he isn’t over his fall at even money.
Gold Cup fourth The Giant Bolster (9/1 with Bet365) deserves to be second favourite for me. That said I’m not a fan of the current second favourite, First Lieutenant (7/2 with Sky Bet). TGB’s close fourth after travelling well alongside the placed horses in this year’s gold cup is the best piece of form in the race. I won’t be backing him as I think he is a far better horse at Cheltenham than anywhere else. He had a hard race in the gold cup and is well held by Conti on non-Cheltenham races.
Controversially as he seems to be popular with just about everyone who follows National Hunt racing, I think First Lieutenant is an overrated horse. Don’t get me wrong he is a very good horse, his 3rd in the Hennessey will show you that, but that run will also show you that he is quite far short of very top grade 1 3m chasers. He was brushed aside by Bob’s worth with ease. He was also dismissed by Tidal Bay receiving lumps of weight. I think it is obvious Nicholls thinks Conti is a lot better than Tidal Bay. His run in the Lexus isn’t as good as people think. Flemenstar didn’t stay and Sir Des Champs jumped shockingly and still only lost by a head. He is very good and I’m sure will be in contention on Thursday but he doesn’t warrant the price he currently is. He doesn’t deserve to be so many points shorter than TGB nor Cape tribulation.
Cape tribulation looks sure to run his race. He is an admirable horse who ran a solid race to finish 5th in the Gold Cup. He was beaten a long way out there though. He comes off the bridle a long way before TGB and Conti. I don’t see him beating those two.
My selection for the race is the one horse that has been laid out for the race. He missed Cheltenham as this was his target. QUITO DE LA ROQUE (10/1 with RaceBets). He is the standout value for the race at 10/1. He has won at Aintree before and is a grade 1 winning Chaser. He had a huge and glowing reputation as a novice chaser before slightly losing his way. He was labelled as slow and was a forgotten horse. That was until he bounced back to form and produced a lifetime best when easily winning a very good Grade 2 Chase in January. He trounced some very good horses that day. He brushed aside Roi Du Mee who has since beaten Prince du Beauchene and Pandorama. He thrashed Days Hotel, a 159 rated Chaser who has since beaten Realt Dubh and Call the Police. He easily put Grand National fancy Joncol. Make no mistake that was fantastic form. It should be noted that the race was only over 2m4f so any thoughts that he is just a slow animal have been dismissed.
I love the fresh angle and along with his most recent run, I think he has an outstanding chance. Silviniaco Conti will take a lot of beating but at even money or odds on he is confidently taken on by the selection. If the 8 runners remain, he is a cracking each way bet. I would be surprised to see him finish outside the first three.
Betfred Bowl Betting Tip
Quito De La Roque each-way at 10/1 with RaceBets.
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