First Lieutenant finally grabbed that elusive Grade One victory over fences, as the Mouse Morris-trained Irish raider outbattled Menorah and Silviniaco Conti to land the Betfred Bowl on the opening day of the Grand National meeting.
Ruby Walsh was always in behind on board warm favourite Silviniaco Conti and a mistake in the latter part of the race saw his chances scuppered and it had looked like Menorah would take all the beating jumping the last in front, but Bryan Cooper managed to cajole First Lieutenant to the front and the 7/2 shot held off Philip Hobbs' raider and the staying on market leader.
2013 Betfred Bowl Result:
1. First Lieutenant (B Cooper) 7/2
2. Menorah (R Johnson) 14/1
3. Silviniaco Conti (R Walsh) Evens Fav
The Betfred Bowl is a Grade One race run at Aintree's Grand National meeting over three miles, one furlong for horses aged five years or older.
Established in 1984, the race has long attracted some of the best staying chasers in training and is often competed by horses who have taken part in the Cheltenham Gold Cup the month before at the Cheltenham Festival.
Down the years there have been some top class winners of the Betfred Bowl and early winners include three-times King George VI Chase winner Wayward Lad who won this contest in 1985 and 1987, whilst Desert Orchid was a superb winner of the 1988 heat.
The likeable grey then went on to become one of the most loved jumpers of all time and notched up multiple Grade One contests including the 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup in an illustrious career.
More recently, See More Business won the Millennium running of the Totesport Bowl and added this corwn to his 1999 Cheltenham Gold cup crown, whilst Floria Pearl and Exotic Dancer are another brace of first grade winners.
However, horses contesting the Betfred Bowl who have been seen running in the Cheltenham Gold Cup the same season don't have a terrific record, as highlighted by Kauto Star and Denman, who have both flopped when short-priced favourites.
The former was touched off by David Pipe's Our Vic in the 2008 renewal when sent off a 4/7 favourite, while Denman fell when Evens favourie the following year with Madison du Berlais retaining the title for the Pipe's Pond House team.