Aintree Bowl Chase Betting Tips, Stats & History

Possibly the classiest race of the entire Grand National meeting takes centre stage on the opening day. Run over a trip in line with that of the King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Aintree Bowl – dubbed the Betway Bowl for sponsorship reasons – generally attracts a similar calibre of field to those key races.

Run for the first time in 1984, the original idea behind this race was for it to act as a consolation event for horses beaten, or unable to compete in the Gold Cup.

Race Info

Three miles and one furlong is the trip for this Grade 1 chase contest which offers a total of £200,000 in prize money and is set to be run on good to soft ground.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good to soft 3m 1f Grade 1 £200,000 6 1/4 1-2

Aintree Bowl Chase Betting Tips

Aintree, 14:50, Thursday 4th April 2019

Paul Nicholls has the best recent record amongst the trainers with three wins in the past nine years. He relies on Clan Des Obeaux this time around, who is enjoying his best season ever despite disappointing during last month’s Gold Cup.

Boosting Clan Des Obeaux’s claim is the fine record of King George winners in this race. In four of the last five seasons, the winner of Kempton’s top race has gone on to claim Betway Bowl success. The only exception is Thistlecrack who was unable to try for the double due to injury.

With two thirds of the Aintree Bowl field made up of Gold Cup runners, we’re able to get a decent sense of how this race might pan out. The two horses that didn’t feature in Cheltenham’s keystone event were Road To Respect and Balko Des Flos, both preferred for the much shorter Ryanair Chase. The pair will need to travel an extra five furlongs this time although neither lack experience over three miles.

Clan Des Obeaux built for Aintree test

When the rain fell on the morning of the Gold Cup, Paul Nicholls believed this put an end to Clan Des Obeaux’s hopes. While stamina isn’t a problem for his seven-year-old, running 3m 2½f on soft ground is not a test he was prepared for. On slightly firmer ground, over a shorter distance and on a less challenging course, Nicholls is confident of an improved showing. We’re inclined to share the optimism too given how well the Sir Alex Ferguson-owned horse has progressed this season. He managed a highly credible third place in this race last year and is twice the horse he was 12 months ago.

Bristol De Mai skips the National

Nigel Twiston-Davies had a big decision to make this Grand National Festival, whether to run Bristol De Mai here or Saturday’s showpiece event. He’s opted for the shorter test on the back of a fine third place finish in the Gold Cup. The eight-year-old’s performance at Cheltenham suggests he’ll run a strong race, just as he did last year, but he’ll do well to finish ahead of Clan Des Obeaux again. Three lengths separated the pair 12 months ago but it’s the race favourite who’s progressed considerably more in this time.

Fences an issue for Kemboy

Willie Mullins delayed naming a jockey to ride Kemboy after the seven-year-old unseated his nephew during the Gold Cup. The gelding was a reasonably strong contender for the race at Cheltenham but hopes of a win vanished early on as he landed awkwardly over the first fence. This isn’t the first time the Savills Chase winner has made a costly mistake over the fences and his past performances have often been peppered by more minor mistakes. With the Aintree fences far from the kindest, 11/4 is too short a price for the 168 rated horse.

Final Verdict: Clan Des Obeaux to win

King George winners have fared exceedingly well in this race in recent years and the trend looks set to continue with Clan Des Obeaux set to relish Thursday’s test.

Recent Winners

2019 Kemboy 9/4 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2018 Might Bite 4/5 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville
2017 Tea For Two 10/1 Nick Williams Lizzie Kelly
2016 Cue Card 6/5 Colin Tizzard Paddy Brennan
2015 Silviniaco Conti 7/4 Paul Nicholls Noel Fehily
2014 Silviniaco Conti 9/4 Paul Nicholls Noel Fehily
2013 First Lieutenant 7/2 Michael Morris Bryan Cooper
2012 Follow The Plan 50/1 Oliver McKiernan Tom Doyle
2011 Nacarat 7/2 Tom George Paddy Brennan
2010 What A Friend 5/2 Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh

About the Aintree Bowl: A High-Class Encounter

Aintree Racecourse
Photo © Mike Pennington (cc-by-sa/2.0) (Image Cropped)

In the same way that the Cheltenham Festival is not all about the Gold Cup, the Grand National Festival is not just about the Grand National itself. It may be the biggest British race of them all in terms of popularity but the Grand National is just one of a host of exhilarating National Hunt chases taking place during the three day festival at Aintree that bears its name.

Racing fans don’t have long to wait before seeing top class chasers face off against each other. The Grade 1 Aintree Bowl takes place on the first day of the Grand National Festival and always features a smattering of big name horses from powerful yards to wow the crowds.

No Longer Simply a Consolation Prize

The Aintree Bowl has been run under any number of names over the years. It’s currently known as the Betway Bowl after that betting company took over sponsorship in 2017 but has previously been sponsored by Betfred, Betfair, Totesport, Martell, Whitbread and the initial sponsors, Perrier-Jouët. You may notice something of a trend there!

Chart Showing the Most Valuable UK 3 mile Plus National Hunt Flat Races for Non Novices

When introduced in 1984 as the Perrier-Jouët Champagne Cup the idea for the race was to provide a high calibre contest for horses who could not get a place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It quickly became clear that this was an excellent addition to the schedule.

Wayward Lad had already claimed several major honours including the King George VI Chase before his Aintree Bowl wins in 1985 and 1987, whilst Desert Orchid’s win in 1988 was a precursor of things to come as he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following season.

Wayward Lad and Desert Orchid set the standards of the Aintree Bowl early doors. In subsequent years the mantel was picked up by the likes of Barton Bank, Silviniaco Conti and Cue Card. That popular trio all delighted racing fans by winning the Aintree Bowl (under various names) having failed to win the Gold Cup in the same season.

That leading contenders from the Gold Cup are going on to win the Aintree Bowl proves the upward curve that the race has been on. It was awarded Grade 1 status in 2010 and has since been won by Might Bite who came second in the Gold Cup just a month earlier. No horse has ever completed the double, however.

Combination of Stamina and Pace Key at Aintree

That the Grand National Festival takes place in April each year adds another layer of difficulty for ante post punters. It is notoriously difficult to predict the weather during British spring time and just a couple of days of rain can have a significant impact on conditions underfoot especially if it’s been a wet winter.

The challenge of the Aintree Bowl changes subject to the going but at 3 miles 1 furlong and with 19 fences to jump it is vital only to back horses who have proven their stamina reserves. It’s also not the sort of race horses can come into cold. Having a run within at least the last 40 days is almost a necessity, as is a certain amount of experience as it’s rare for an Aintree Bowl winner to have had fewer than 10 starts and four wins in their chasing career.

The Aintree Bowl is run on the Mildmay Course at Aintree. That means that the horses are spared the challenge of clearing the famous Grand National fences but jumping remains an important attribute on the Mildmay as it is a fairly fast track and many horses have been caught out by the speed at which they must navigate the fences.

Chart Showing the Ages of Aintree Bowl Winners Between 1984 and 2019

Unlike many races of the same calibre, age is not a key stat for the Aintree Bowl. It has been won by younger horses on the way up, those at the peak of their powers and those who are landing one last big win.

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