The father-and-son combination of Peter and James Bowen (photographed) scored their biggest joint victory by winning the Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree on Saturday with Mac Tottie.
Bowen senior has done well with his runners over the Grand National fences for many years – McKelvey was a close second in the 2007 National, and might have won but for finishing lame. Dunbrody Millar took the Topham that year and Always Waining won it three years in a row from 2010-12. After Mac Tottie’s success race the trainer said, “We do a lot of loose schooling and we do it with three or four horses together. I think they find their own way then so they come to jump pretty well.”
The horse’s campaign will now be directed towards the Grand National. The standard of that race is so high that he will need to show more improvement to be sure of getting a high enough handicap mark to run, but that’s perfectly possible for this useful eight-year-old.
David Probert’s winner at Doncaster on the final day of the turf season was his 150th of 2021. His previous best was 112. It was also his 88th winner on grass, 50% higher than his previous best. That’s another indicator of the better horses he has been riding, meaning more on the major turf tracks and less on the all-weather.
On a beautiful afternoon at Ffos Las on Sunday, eight of the nine runners in the three mile chase were Welsh-trained. Leading them home was Christian Williams’ Powerful Position who, despite running poorly in his last two races, was sent off at 100/30. He justified that support to break a losing run of 46 for Jack Tudor, who rode like a champion to drive the horse ahead at the final fence and keep him in front. The horse was, however, getting 20 pounds and more from his rivals and appreciated softer ground. His canny trainer is aiming Waiting Patiently at Haydock’s Betfair Chase in a fortnight and Kitty’s Light in the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury at the end of the month.
Another bottom weight, To Be Sure, won the 3m hurdle in the familiar colours of T Hywel Jones, atoning for a nasty fall here last month. Adam Wedge gave the Evan Williams-trained six-year-old a patient, confidence-boosting ride.
Bernard Llewellyn’s Zambezi Fix was going best when coming down three out in the two mile novices chase. Half an hour earlier the stable’s Port Or Starboard rewarded his each way backers by finishing second in the novice hurdle. His SP was 9/1, but those who took 33/1 the day before will be particularly pleased. Richard Patrick is in good form, for he rode the winner of that race and the opener at Aintree on Saturday.
Connor Brace is having a successful spell and on Monday rode his third winner from his last seven rides when Brief Ambition won at Kempton. The gelding is co-owned by Harry Redknapp.
Our next fixture at Chepstow is Friday 19th November followed by the Christmas Jumper Race Day on Saturday 4th December.