Forecast Points To Lido Bowl Bid

Thursday sees the start of the three-day Aintree Festival, which features four mouth-watering Grade 1 races – the last of which is the Betfred Bowl Chase (2.50pm).

Although the market is dominated by Cue Card (evens), it’s worth noting that eight of the last 10 Bowl winners were non-favourites.

Betfred Bowl Chase Trends
Of the last 10 winners…

10 were 7-10yo’s
9 were French or Irish-bred
8 were non-favourites
8 ran in a Grade 1 last time
7 arrived via Cheltenham
P Nicholls won it three times, D Pipe twice

Cue Aintree Bridesmaid Again?
While the five-time Grade 1 winner Cue Card is respected, he failed to win at this meeting in three attempts (runner-up three times) and arrives having fallen at Cheltenham. It’s possible a busy season has caught up with Cue Card, suggesting Willie Mullins’ Djakadam (5/2) could be the value.

Mullins Sends Strong Challenge
December’s Punchestown Gold Cup winner ran a mighty race when a 4l runner-up to Don Cossack in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month (3m2f, good), and a repeat of that would send him close on Thursday. He may want softer ground on this return to 3m, though, as he was outpaced on good ground at Cheltenham – for the record, all of Djakadam’s career wins came on soft/heavy.

With a few question marks surrounding the front two in the market, there is a suspicion punters could find some each-way value.

Starting Don Poli (5/1), this 7yo was 10l behind Djakadam in the Gold Cup when, like his stablemate, was getting outpaced on good ground. A C&D winner on soft ground in December, Don Poli’s chances would increase if any rain arrives.

Lido Good Value At 7’s
The Mullins clan is also represented by the 7yo Valseur Lido (8/1), who finished to good effect to get within 6l of the mighty Vautour in last month’s Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham (2m5f, good). Having won a Grade 1 novice over 3m at last year’s Punchestown Festival, Valseur Lido is a live contender, with the step back up in trip to suit.

Another Bowl For Nicholls?
With Paul Nicholls having won this race three times since 2006, his runners can never be overlooked, suggesting Saphir Du Rheu could go well at 16/1. This 7yo won the Grade 1 novice over C&D here 12 months ago, but will need to bounce back from two poor runs the last twice.

Another 16/1 shot that could run well is Enda Bolger’s Gilgamboa, who was 4l behind Valseur Lido in the Ryanair when staying on late. He does handle this sort of ground and is another who will relish going back up in trip.

The final mention goes to David Pipe’s Dynaste, who has run some big races at this meeting down the years. He made late ground behind Vautour despite being beaten 20l, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was thereabouts at 33/1.

Recommended Bet
The ability to handle the forecast good/good to soft ground will be vital but that won’t bother Valseur Lido, who is a Grade 1 winner over this trip and arrives in form following his Cheltenham second.

*Prices correct at time of publication.