Bowen pair primed for Aintree
Peter Bowen is hoping to extend his excellent record over Aintree's Grand National fences when he saddles Mumbles Head and Ballyvesey in the £110,000 Betfred Becher Handicap Chase on Saturday.
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The Pembrokeshire handler has won four John Smith's Topham Chases, including the past three renewals with Always Waining, and saddled McKelvey to finish a close second in the 2007 running of the John Smith's Grand National.
Mumbles Head will be having his first start over the famous fences when he lines up in the three-and-a-quarter-mile contest on Saturday and comes into the race in good form.
Bowen said: "Mumbles Head will run. He has been in very good form and I thought it was a good effort up at Aintree last time.
"I don't know if he will improve for that run as it all depends on how they take to the course but I think he will be okay as he jumps well and stays well. I don't think the soft ground will be a problem for him.
"He has had a lot of problems in the past but think there could be more improvement in him because he is very lightly raced and doesn't have many miles on the clock.
"The John Smith's Grand National is the target but obviously we have to see how he performs on Saturday first."
Ballyvesey has finished placed in the past two renewals of the Becher Chase, finishing fourth behind Hello Bud in 2010 and third to West End Rocker in 2011. He finished second, one place in front of Mumbles Head, in the John Smith's Summer Cup but will be 15lb wrong at the weights on Saturday should top-weight Ballabriggs take his chance.
"Ballyvesey will probably run as well," said Bowen. "He is in good form and although he is out of the handicap, he loves the course and has run well out of the handicap there in the past."
Bowen reported that his other entry Gullible Gordon is likely take up an engagement at Chepstow instead.