Betfred Bowl Chase
Grade 1, Aintree 14:50
£150,000 added,
5yo plus,
3m 1f, Class 1  
Thursday 9th April 2015

Mathematician Betting

1 Silviniaco Conti 7-4F
2 Ballynagour 18-1
3 Holywell 5-2
7 ran Distances: hd, 2¼l, 7l
TIME 6m 15.70s (slow by 8.70s)

Silviniaco Conti gamely holds off the late challenge of Ballynagour

Silviniaco Conti
© Racehorse Photos
Silviniaco Conti

Silviniaco Conti produced a gritty performance to repel the late challenge of Ballynagour and land his second successive Betfred Bowl by a head at Aintree this afternoon.

The 7/4 favourite was foot perfect as he led the field a merry dance for the majority of the race but he had to dig deep after the final fence as both the runner-up and Holywell tried in vain to reel the winner in.

Trainer Paul Nicholls was visibly delighted following the race and revealed the nine-year-old could return to Aintree to run in the Crabbie's Grand National in the next couple of years.

"That was brilliant wasn't it?" said Nicholls.

"You know that he is going to idle in front and then he has gone in really tight at the last. I texted Noel (Fehily - winning jockey) last night and said: 'Make all and never get headed. Go as quick as you like, get them all in trouble in behind you and don't give them an inch'. He has mega-fit and, if he fires like he can, he will win but don't give them an inch. Noel's given him a great ride - probably the best he's ever given him.

"He has got plenty in the tank and has his ears pricked. He is not the quickest in the world but he will gallop all the way to the line. He just needed a big one at the last to make it safe but he went in tight. He is a grand horse on these tracks and I think that he loves this better ground - he's a small horse and I think that testing ground at Cheltenham doesn't suit him.

"It's so good to be able to get them back on form like that after a disappointing run and it reflects well on the whole team. Lorraine Morris rides him every day at home and she said yesterday that he is still well. It's a job to work him out because he shows you nothing at home - he is just the character he is - but he is a good horse when he is right. It just shows that we are going to have to keep at this type of track with him."

"I don't really think Cheltenham suits him to be honest. He's not the type of horse that Denman or Kauto Star is. He doesn't have that strength - he's on the small side. I suspect we'll keep him to these type of tracks now. We don't have to train him for a Gold Cup - there are plenty more big races to be won. I would say the Gold Cup is not a priority anymore. I do think that when it doesn't go his way, like when he was beaten at Wetherby (in the Charlie Hall Chase) and at Cheltenham, he saves a bit for himself so I don't think he's had that hard a race at The Festival to be honest.

"Who knows - he could end up a bit like Neptune Collonges (winner of the 2012 Crabbie's Grand National) one day. We'll probably give him an entry for the National at some point, if not next year then the year after but he could be a right horse to run in the National as he jumps so well. He does nothing at home. Rocky Creek (Nicholls' main Crabbie's Grand National contender) works all over him at home.

"Rocky Creek is really well. We're very happy with him. Let's hope it stays like this weather-wise for the next 48 hours. I've trained him with this race in mind all season. Last year, he was going to go for the Gold Cup but then he got a bit of ringworm and then had an interrupted preparation. This year, everything has gone right and he's got a great chance."

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Betfred Bowl Chase
£150,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m 1f, Class 1
7 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Silviniaco Conti (FR) 7/4f N D Fehily
11-7
P F Nicholls 9
2nd hd Ballynagour (IRE) 18/1 T Scudamore
11-7
D Pipe 9
3rd Holywell (IRE) 5/2 A P McCoy
11-7
Jonjo O'Neill 8
4th 7 Smad Place (FR) 10/1 W Hutchinson
11-7
A King 8
5th 14 Menorah (IRE) 7/1 R Johnson
11-7
P J Hobbs 10
6th 10 Ma Filleule (FR) 9/2 D A Jacob
11-0
N J Henderson 7
PU Vukovar (FR) 33/1 G Sheehan
11-7
W Greatrex 6

FEHILY DELIGHTED WITH CONTI

Jockey Noel Fehily paid tribute to Silviniaco Conti after the nine-year-old battled gallantly to hold off Ballynagour to win the Betfred Bowl.

"You saw it at Haydock, you saw it at Kempton and again today what a great jumper he is. I think his jumping won it," said Fehily.

"It was another great performance and he is some little star on his day. His jumping was absolutely electric again today and that's what he was like at Kempton - he jumped so well.

"I don't know why he doesn't handle Cheltenham, because he seems the same horse there. The only thing I can think is that he doesn't jump with the same exuberance. But he has won another Grade One today, so he has had a great season again."

BALLY BRILLIANT BY PIPE TEAM

Ballynagour came back from a layoff stretching to November and put up a superb effort in defeat in the Grade One Betfred Bowl Chase.

The nine-year-old, under strong driving from Tom Scudamore, finished second beaten just a head by favourite Silviniaco Conti, and was closing the winner down as the line approached. Holywell was a further two and a quarter lengths behind in third.

Ballynagour is owned by Allan Stennett, who said the horse had not run since the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury because he needed a wind operation and had suffered from bleeding issues. Today he not only defied the absence, but also proved he stays three miles.

For David Pipe it was another fine training performance to produce a horse fit and well to take on some of the best chasers in Britain. Pipe said: "I have long wanted to step him up to this trip and he's a really good horse when you can get him right. I was pleased with his preparation for today's race - I wanted to take him to Cheltenham, but we couldn't get him right. Allan's been very patient with him and it's paid off.

"Now we know the horse stays three miles options open up for him. We have had to ride him to get home today, but we might ride him differently in future."

Ballynagour is now a contender to run at the Punchestown Festival, said Richard Kent, who manages Stennett's horses.

Holywell battled home gamely to take third to the delight of his trainer Jonjo O'Neill, who said: "He's run a cracking race but he just wasn't quite good enough on the day. From where he was down the back you have to be pleased that he's run on to take third. He's entered at Punchestown but that's likely to be it now for him for the season."

Betfred Bowl - Previous Winners

2014 Silviniaco Conti,
2013 First Lieutenant
, Gigginstown House Stud, Mouse Morris IRE 08-11-07 Bryan Cooper 7/2
2012 Follow The Plan, Redgap Partnership, Oliver McKlernan IRE 09-11-07 Tom Doyle 50/1
2011 Nacarat, Simon W Clarke, Tom George 10-11-07 Paddy Brennan 7/2

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