Aintree 2015: Betfred Bowl preview (14:50)
Holywell finished in front of Silviniaco Conti in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and can confirm that form to land the Betfred Bowl at Aintree (14:50).
The Jonjo O’Neill trained gelding comes alive in the spring, and posted a career-best effort when a 9 1/2 length fourth to Coneygree in chasing’s blue riband event at the Festival last month.
This eight-year-old finished three places and just under 18 lengths in front of Silviniaco Conti in the extended 3m 2f contest, and the drop back in trip to 3m 1f in this looks sure to suit.
Holywell has won two of his five starts over it, and they include a very impressive display over course and distance 12 months ago at this meeting when slamming Don Cossack by 10 lengths in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.
Prior to that effort, Holywell had beaten Ma Filleule by 1 3/4 lengths in an ultra-competitive handicap at the Cheltenham Festival, and there is no reason why the runner-up should turn the tables as they meet on the same terms.
With the drying ground massively in Holywell’s favour, and soon-to-be crowned 20-times champion jockey AP McCoy in the saddle, the improving son of Gold Well looks the one they all have to beat.
The obvious danger is Silviniaco Conti, who is bidding to win back-to-back runnings of the Grade 1 contest.
This Paul Nicholls trained nine-year-old was all out to beat Dynaste by 1/2 lengths in last year’s renewal, but is a class act on his day and a dual King George winner.
Prior to his bitterly disappointing dispaly in the Gold Cup when sent off favourite, Silvianco had looked as good as ever when beating Dynaste by 4 1/2 lengths in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The son of Dom Alco is also a dual winner over course and distance so, off a rating of 173, officially has 10lb in hand over Holywell.
However, Silviniaco has questions to answer after his Gold Cup display and I am not convinced that the quicker ground will suit him as much as the selection.