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GG Exclusive – Top Jockey Sean Bowen’s 2023 Grand National Blog

Top Jumps Jockey Sean Bowen returns to talk us through his rides for Friday at Aintree, and of course his huge chance to make history on Noble Yeats in the National!

We have sponsored Sean for a while now, and we’re extremely excited to unleash his blog on site to give you an insight into the weighing room, the latest on his big weekend rides and opinion on all the big races! Follow Sean’s blog each week for his thoughts exclusively.

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About Sean

At 25 years old Sean has now established himself as one of the top riders in UK Jumps racing. He was Champion Conditional Jockey in 2015 and has gone from strength-to-strength ever since. He won his first Grade 1 with on If The Cap Fits in 2019 in the Liverpool Hurdle, and his latest one was on Metier in the Tolworth Hurdle last season. Sean currently sits second in the Jump Jockey Championship.

Noble Yeats in the Grand National

It’s obviously a pretty special week for me personally as I’ll be riding the brilliant Noble Yeats, who won this race last season. It’s a race that is like no other. It’s longer than any other, different fences, track and there’s just a huge buzz about it. It’s the most famous race in the world!

Noble Yeats comes here to defend his crown and he’s obviously carrying 19lbs more than last year. However, last year he would never have been in the Gold Cup and this year he finished fourth so he has definitely improved. You don’t see many win this race twice in a row, although Tiger Roll proved it’s possible in recent times. My horse is better than last year, and we’ll certainly give it a real go. He can race a little lazily and it’s just a case of keeping him going and in touch as we know he’s a really good stayer. He showed that by staying on brilliantly at Cheltenham. You always need luck in the Grand National with 40 horses going to post.

I grew up, as many have, with the Grand National being the race. That hasn’t changed and there’s still such magic around the race and the whole world is watching. For me it’s No.1 on my list to win as a jockey. Hopefully it will be on Saturday!

My Rides on Friday

Strong Leader

He was a bit green in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last month and lost a bit going down the hill.

There’s a good chance the track here will suit him a lot more than Cheltenham did. But at the same time, he’s got like some top Novices’ to beat again, but I do think he’ll be better today. I hope he can finish in the frame somewhere.

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Fugitif

He steps up in grade here, having been an improving handicapper this season. He didn’t finish his races off fully at Cheltenham up the hill, so hopefully the flatter track at Aintree will suit. The only thing that he would want and doesn’t look like he’ll get is plenty of rain – if the ground was soft you’d give him a nice chance. I do think this track will suit however, and although he had a tough race at Cheltenham he’s had an extra week to recover this year as compared to previous years, which should help his chances.

Equus Dancer

I ride Equus Dancer in the Topham, trained by my Dad (Peter Bowen). We teamed up last year to win with Mac Tottie and I’d love to ride another winner for him – it doesn’t get much better than riding winners for your parents! He’s won this five times and had a lot of horses place in this, so he has an incredible record in the race and this one is certainly in with a chance. He’s been improving, winning five of his last six starts, so comes here in excellent form. The only doubt is that he hasn’t raced at Aintree before, and you never know how he’s going to handle the fences until you’ve jumped the row of the first three or four and get into a bit of a rhythm. If he does take to the course, I think he’ll have a good each-way chance at a big price.