Lieutenant set Bowl assignment

First Lieutenant with owner Michael O'Leary after finishing second in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham last month.

Mouse Morris expects the step back up in trip to suit First Lieutenant in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree tomorrow.

After lengthy discussions with his owners Gigginstown House Stud before the Cheltenham Festival, it was decided the eight-year-old would run in the two-mile-five-furlong Ryanair Chase, rather than the Gold Cup over three and a quarter miles.

That left Sir Des Champs to run in the Gold Cup for the same owners and while both ran very creditably to finish second, Morris is happy his stable star gets to try his luck over a longer distance this week.

However, he has to do so without Gigginstown’s retained jockey Davy Russell, who has been prevented from riding at the meeting by the British Horseracing Authority, despite being cleared to ride by the equivalent Irish body following the punctured lung he suffered at Cheltenham.

Bryan Cooper, who has ridden First Lieutenant on his last four starts, keeps the mount.

“He’s back up in trip. He gets three miles no problem at all,” said Morris.

“If anything he just lacked a bit of toe (at Cheltenham) but I’m not worried at all about going up in trip.

“It’s unreal Davy can’t ride him and I’m sure if it was any other meeting it wouldn’t be a problem, but you can understand why they are being cautious.

“He ran a good race in the Ryanair and I’m sure he’ll go well again.”

The Giant Bolster ran another solid race in the Gold Cup, following up his second place finish last year with a fine fourth.

His trainer David Bridgwater believes if he could sort his stable star’s jumping issues out, then he really would be a major contender for top honours.

“He’s come out of the Gold Cup fine,” said Bridgwater.

“He lost 10 lengths with a mistake at the top of the hill and was also slow at the second last. Without those mistakes he’d have been bang there.

“It’s only his jumping that is letting him down at present. He’s been second and fourth in a Gold Cup so imagine how good he could be.

“He should have his ground now but that’s the same for all of them.

“Every time he’s met Silviniaco Conti he’s been beaten seven lengths so we’re hoping to get a bit closer. There’s also the Irish horses to beat.

“If he can bring home some prize money to pay for the diesel I’ll be happy.”

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