Aintree 2018: Aintree Bowl Chase Odds and Betting Preview
Following the wonderful Cheltenham Festival meeting back in March, the four-week impasse until the Aintree equivalent has flown by, as the Liverpool venue hosts its three-day fixture beginning on Thursday afternoon.
The highlight on opening day is the Aintree Bowl Chase, with some of the leading contenders hoping to enhance or regain reputations after the Cheltenham spectacular. Sponsored by Betway, the Aintree Bowl is raced over three miles and one furlong, which equates to around 5,020 meters in metric distance.
Nineteen fences lie in the way for the small but select field, as Tea For Two will return to try and reclaim the trophy from twelve months previous. With some strong opposition to the Nick Williams’ trained star, a fantastic race is expected here, as we look at some of the main contenders in greater detail.
Nicky Henderson has yet to taste success in the Aintree Bowl since its inception back in 1984, but his Might Bite could buck that trend on Thursday afternoon. Following the runners-up finish to Native River in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month, Might Bite has been installed as the odds-on favourite to gain some recompense at the Liverpool track.
888Sport has priced up Might Bite at the best industry price of 4/6 to win the Thursday showpiece and provided that the exertions at Cheltenham haven’t had a detrimental effect on the nine-year-old’s wellbeing, he looks to be the one that the rest has to beat.
My view is that Might Bite could well have won at Cheltenham but was unable to show his real speed under the testing conditions that also gave Native River his preferred going, allowing his stout stamina to prove crucial. The Aintree going is likely to be similar but Might Bite faces nothing of the same calibre in this race. The only word of caution is that you have to take his wellbeing on trust, but he looks to be a likely winner in this company.
Bristol De Mai shot to prominence earlier in the season with his 50-plus length win in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock back in November. The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained seven-year-old revelled in the heavy conditions as the popular grey left his rivals – some included in the Bowl line-up – toiling behind.
Bristol De Mai met Might Bite over the Christmas period in the King George VI Chase at Kempton but the galloping track did not play to his strengths, as Bristol De Mai trailed in over 20 lengths behind the Henderson horse in sixth place.
The positives for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede’s owned horse is that Cheltenham was bypassed for a tilt at Aintree, so you can be almost certain that Bristol De Mai will arrive in peak fitness for the race. If there is to be any chinks in the Might Bite armour on Thursday afternoon, the best price of 11/2 on Bristol De Mai with bet365 could prove very valuable indeed. If all of the eight currently intended runners stand their ground, then each-way calculations must be considered.
Others of Note
Northern raider, Definitly Red took his place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup with lofty expectations but ultimately succumbed at the highest level. Brian Ellison’s charge deserved his tilt at the Blue Riband event after claiming the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham back in January – Bristol De Mai ten and three-quarter lengths behind in third – but the race pace was too hot for the eight-year-old chaser.
Definitly Red is another in this field worthy of place calculations, especially if the eight runners all stand their ground. William Hill offer the top price of 15/2 on the stout stayer, but he would need the leading two in the betting to underperform to feature.
Double Shuffle was raised 15lbs by the handicapper following his second placed effort behind Might Bite in Boxing Day’s King George VI Chase as Tom George’s charge looks to prove that effort was no fluke. A mid-season break could well have helped the eight-year-old son of Milan, and the 12/1 on offer with Coral could interest some at value odds.
Paul Nicholls has won the Aintree Bowl on four previous occasions and saddles the improving youngster Clan Des Obeaux to try and make it win number five. Nicholls has often shown his regard for the six-year-old as ‘potentially top class’. Generally available at 16/1, Clan Des Obeaux has to show significant improvement in the book to get involved in the race, but Nicholls knows how to get one ready for the big event.
Might Bite – albeit at short odds – is the very likely winner of this event if he runs to his best form. The short period between Cheltenham and Aintree could leave its mark on the Henderson horse, but his class should see him through here.
Plenty of others have claims on the minor honours, with a punt taken on Clan Des Obeaux at 16/1 to prove his worth at the highest level.