12th April 2012
Aintree Betting: Henderson tipped to saddle the 1-2 in the Betfred Bowl Chase
Aintree 3.05pm – Grade 1 Chase – 3m1f
On paper this looks like an ideal chance for Riverside Theatre to record another grade 1 win as it is for me the classiest horse in the race and one of the few horses you could call a genuine grade 1 chaser in this race. It is currently 3-1 with William Hill but I can see money coming for it on the day as it did at Cheltenham.
It could arguably be better suited to this track and did run well at Kempton and Ascot, both significantly flatter than the twists and turns of Cheltenham. It didn’t look to enjoy itself around Cheltenham but Geraghty somehow encouraged it home, class showing in the end. It was a 10 length winner over 22f but was beaten 12 lengths by Long Run in the King George. It should get the 3m but most wins have been over 16f-21f.
I often look to oppose horses that have run at Cheltenham in this race but that is usually because they have had a long season and been trained to peak in March. This horse has only had 2 starts this year, winning both of them and laughing at those that suggested it would “bounce” after coming back from injury and winning at Ascot. It had the beating of Medermit that day and withheld that form at Cheltenham.
Medermit is an 11-2 chance and although some suggest it might reverse form over the longer trip it needs to be taken into account that Medermit’s last win was over 18f. It has a decent level of consistency and was a classy sort over hurdles too. It is a horse that seems to have its followers but proves costly to keep backing unless you take it each way. I get the feeling it is often good but not good enough.
Burton Port is another that was expected to “bounce” and also made a mockery of this racing cliché when running a fine 4th in the Gold Cup, also back from injury. It ran a fine 2nd to Long Run at Newbury but was in receipt of 10lb that day and then finished 5 lengths behind that rival in the Gold Cup off level weights. That Gold Cup form looks a bit suspect and it will be interesting to see how horses go on from that race.
What A Friend was an early faller in the Gold Cup so comes here quite fresh if over that tumble. It was behind Burton Port at Newbury and ran well for a long way but as usual found very little at the business end and lacks genuine guts and determination to get the job done. It won a poor renewal of this race in 2010 and faces a much harder task today. It does look to be slightly over priced though based on form with Burton Port at 12-1 in the betting.
Nacarat won another poor renewal of this race in 2011 with Denman well beaten in 5th. Carole’s Legacy was 2nd and Follow The Plan was 3rd. It is likely to go off in front here and that can often suit at this flat track. If it gets into a decent rhythm over its fences it could be hard to reel back in and can’t be given a soft lead. Carruthers is likely to race up with it and an ideal situation would be for them to get into a race with each other and set it up for Riverside Theatre. I am not convinced this is a top class grade 1 horse but it has guts and battles like a genuine sort.
Carruthers, Follow The Plan, Roberto Goldback and Diamond Harry all lack class for me and are easily opposed based on their lack of top class form in grade 1 chases.
Master Of The Hall is an interesting type and was a course and distance winner here in December on heavy ground. That was only a listed chase but it demolished the field with the 2nd beaten by 16 lengths. It refused at Sandown when already beaten and that was a concern but is looked well enough next time out at Kelso when winning by 4 lengths over 23f with Ballabriggs in 4th. It finished the race full of running and 3m will be fine.
It has a 3m chase win in grade 2 class on soft ground but is yet to win at this level. It was only 6th in the RSA in 2011 but blundered a fence and was then hampered. It went to Aintree last year and was well beaten when falling and more concerning was the way it weakened. It has had a 5 week break now and missed Cheltenham after the Kelso win. I fancy this as a live challenger to the favourite.
Hunt Ball has progressed in leaps and bounds this season but you can’t help feel the additional weight is going to catch up with the horse at some point. It started the season racing off a rating of 69. 7 wins and a 2nd this season have seen it shoot up to this rating of 154 but it is still officially 16lb inferior to Riverside Theatre. Hunt Ball has been a joy to follow and would be a popular winner but the winning run could stop here.
My expectations are for a Henderson 1-2 but not Burton Port. I expect Riverside Theatre to go off shorter on the day and confirm itself as top class with Master Of The Hall an overpriced chance to follow it in.
2pts WIN – Riverside Theatre 3-1 Bet365
1pt EW – Master Of The Hall 16-1 Skybet (1/4 odds first 3)
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Author: Formbook Frank