The first day of Aintree’s Grand National meeting certainly kicks off in style with a number of thrilling contests on offer. The pick of the bunch over fences – certainly in terms of the class of the participants – is the Aintree Bowl. Here we take a look at the best odds and offers and provide our betting tips for the race.
A Grade 1 National Hunt Chase contest run over a trip of 3m1f and open to runners aged five and older, this event was first run at Aintree in 1984 and now offers £150,000 in total prize money.
Of course, whatever you want to bet on in this race, or at the Grand National Meeting, claiming a free bet is a great way to improve your odds of success. Check out all our top racing free bets but please note that some of these are not available on the Friday or Saturday of the National.
Aintree Bowl Tips and Preview 2019
The Aintree Bowl is one of the highlights on a top class card to open up the Grand National Festival. This 3 mile 1 furlong, Grade 1 chase is a highly regarded prize which always attracts entries from the biggest yards. That is certainly the case for the 2019 renewal where a small but high quality field of six horses is set to compete for a winner’s prize worth in excess of £110,000.
Bristol De Mai to Prove Himself a Top Class Chaser
When it comes to horses for courses there are few combinations as reliable as Bristol De Mai and Haydock. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ eight-year-old extended his perfect record at Haydock when he defended the Betfair Chase in November. He beat some very good chasers that day but many were willing to put it down to his love for Haydock so Bristol De Mai perhaps didn’t get due credit for that performance.
That analysis was borne out when Bristol De Mai fell at the sixth fence in the King George at Kempton. Therefore, when he was entered in the Cheltenham Gold Cup few gave him a chance of even grabbing a place as was evidenced by his starting price of 18/1. The manner of his performance at Cheltenham showed that Bristol De Mai has come on a great deal since his attempts to win the 2017 Gold Cup and suggested that the eight-year-old’s best is yet to come.
Aintree is another course that obviously suits Bristol De Mai. After all, he finished second in the Aintree Bowl 12 months ago. He arrives back at Aintree a much better horse, one who has the quality to see off the undoubted threat posed by Clan Des Obeaux and Kemboy, so back Bristol De Mai to win at nice odds of 3/1 with Ladbrokes.
Meade Horse Worthy of Respect
As mentioned above, the quality of the six horses set to go to post in the Aintree Bowl really is very high. Each of them has had some success this season and each of them has what it takes to turn in a storming performance and claim at least a place. That makes the 20/1 that Paddy Power are quoting on Road To Respect’s chances look far too big to ignore.
Noel Meade’s eight-year-old is a battle-hardened sort who looked to be heading for another crack at the Gold Cup before being switched to the Ryanair Chase late on. Road To Respect emerged from Cheltenham with more credit especially as it’s clear connections aren’t entirely sure what his best option is at the Festival.
The hope is that 3 miles 1 furlong on spring ground at Aintree will be much more up his alley. This is Road To Respect’s course debut so there is a fair amount up in the air but he’s been there or thereabouts all season, especially when racing over three miles. His stamina means Road To Respect will be tough to shake off so an each way bet looks very much in order.
Aintree Bowl Previous Winners
- 2018 – Might Bite – jockey Nico de Boinville, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2017 – Tea For Two – jockey Lizzy Kelly, trainer Nick Williams
- 2016 – Cue Card – jockey Paddy Brennan, trainer Colin Tizzard
- 2015 – Silviniaco Conti – jockey Noel Fehily, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2014 – Silviniaco Conti – jockey Noel Fehily, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2013 – First Lieutenant – jockey Bryan Cooper, trainer Mouse Morris
- 2012 – Follow The Plan – jockey Tom Doyle, trainer Oliver McKiernan
- 2011 – Nacarat – jockey Paddy Brennan, trainer Tom George
- 2010 – What A Friend – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2009 – Madison du Berlais – jockey Tom Scudamore, trainer David Pipe
- 2008 – Our Vic – jockey Timmy Murphy, trainer David Pipe
- 2007 – Exotic Dancer – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
Aintree Bowl History
Initially established in 1984 with the intention of providing an alternative Spring target to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the quality of this race has steadily increased over the years, and it is now the norm to see a handful of runners take in both this and the Cheltenham showpiece.
Run over a trip of 3m1f and featuring 19 stiff fences which need to be safely negotiated, it certainly provides a similar test to the Cheltenham challenge, although Aintree is generally accepted as an easier track. The overall increase in standard here resulted in the contest being granted Grade 1 status for the first time in 2010.
The inaugural edition of the race was backed by the Champagne maker Perrier-Jouet, but it has predominantly been betting companies who have lent their support to the race in recent years. Betfair, Totesport, Betfred and Betway all feature on the list of previous sponsors.
A number of racing’s most popular chasers have taken this over the years, including the famous grey who regularly comes out on top in lists of all-time favourite racehorses, Desert Orchid. David Elsworth’s four time King George VI hero added this to a haul which also included the Cheltenham Gold Cup when coming home in front here in 1988.
This does tend to go to a top-class individual with Paul Nicholls dual King George and 1999 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, See More Business being another example of the quality of horse it often takes to prevail.
Each of, triple King George winner Wayward Lad, Docklands Express, First Gold and Paul Nicholls favourite, Silviniaco Conti, have won this race twice, but as of 2016 we are still waiting for our first three time winner.
Interestingly both Docklands Express and Wayward Lad didn’t come out on top here until the latter stages of their careers, each being aged 11 at the time of their first win. The David Nicholson runner Escartefigue is the youngest winner of the contest to date, being six years old at the time of his triumph in 1998.
It is multiple Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls who leads the way amongst the handlers. Successful with See More Business (2000), What A Friend (2010) and Silviniaco Conti (2014, 2015), he stands alone on four wins.
Two is the magic number for the jockeys as we have a six way tie for the lead between Richard Dunwoody, Thierry Doumen, Tony McCoy, Timmy Murphy, Noel Fehily and Paddy Brennan. A number on this list are now retired but Paddy Brennan and Noel Fehily will be hopeful of claiming the lead for themselves in the coming years.