Dynaste set for Bowl bid
Views from connections ahead of Thursday's Betfred Bowl at Aintree, as Dynaste bids to follow up his Ryanair win.
Tom Scudamore is already enjoying his best ever season, requiring only three more winners for his first ever century, and he hopes Dynaste can edge him one nearer in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree on Thursday.
The David Pipe-trained grey silenced a few doubters with a stylish win in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, a success Scudamore admits was very sweet.
Now the eight-year-old steps back up in trip as he returns to Liverpool, but only to race over a course and distance over which he was successful 12 months ago as a novice.
"It was a fantastic result at Cheltenham and it was great to win another Grade One on him, especially with it coming at the Cheltenham Festival," said Scudamore.
"More of the same is what we're looking for, but we know it will be very competitive. It's a small field but very select.
"At no stage during the Ryanair did I want to rush him, which is why it maybe looked like I was quite far back. It was always the intention to come very late on him. They always go quick in the championship races and I knew I'd be able to sit off them.
"The trip shouldn't worry him, he won over it last year so the track obviously suits him.
"He returned from the King George with a bad back but I've heard of nothing since Cheltenham, so that's a good sign."
First Lieutenant gained due reward for a succession of consistent efforts in the best races when winning this contest 12 months ago and his trainer Mouse Morris is hoping for more of the same.
He was forced to miss the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the 11th hour when he failed to eat up on the morning of the race.
With Gigginstown's retained rider Bryan Cooper on the sidelines, Barry Geraghty will ride the nine-year-old for the first time.
"We'll give it our best shot at retaining it," said Morris.
"It's a tricky sort of race, it's only a small field and it's difficult to know if anyone wants to make the running.
"We've done that before though, so if nobody else wants to go on, I'm sure we won't have a problem with that.
"I'm just a bit worried about the rain that's forecast, we thought the ground would be perfect for him but there's a bit about.
"I hope the rain comes after the race. Barry has been down to school him, he's never ridden him in a race but he's uncomplicated and Barry has ridden him plenty of times and should know all about him by now."
Tom Taaffe's Argocat is another Irish raider and has Tony McCoy in the saddle.
He won the Red Mills Chase when last seen but will need to take his form to a new level.
"I have to be pleased with his performance at Gowran because, on ground too heavy for him, he put up a very brave performance in what was effectively his second run of the season," said Taaffe.
"He had a very bad fall at Down Royal in November and it took him a long time to get over that as he broke a number of ribs and different things.
"It was our preferred choice to skip Cheltenham and go straight to Aintree with him. He's only six so I would be hoping there is a bit of improvement in him. He won over three miles at Limerick, so the trip should be OK, and better ground will definitely help."