Mickey Bowen: My first Aintree win — I thought I was dreaming *H&H VIP*

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  • Opinion

    It was great to train the winner of this year’s Fox Hunters’ at Aintree, with 11-year-old Dineur going one better than his second in the race in 2016 — I thought I was dreaming and it made the six-hour drive to Aintree worthwhile.

    He’d actually only come in a few months beforehand and we took him to Chepstow for a prep race, where he finished second to Vasco Du Mee in a hunter chase — he came on a lot from that race.

    I was really nervous watching the race but James King gave him a perfect ride and got him into a great position. Three out I couldn’t watch, I was just screaming!

    Horses either take to those Grand National fences or they don’t, and I’m fortunate Dineur does. He actually jumps those big jumps much better than the fences in a normal hunter chase — he respects them more.

    In a race, he’s forward going and has no problem out-jumping his rivals.

    He’ll have a nice break over the summer and I will aim him at the Aintree Fox Hunters’ again next year, as his best form has come over those fences.

    From rider to trainer

    At home, he can be quite keen and it’s usually only myself or my younger brother James who rides him out in the mornings.

    My dad, trainer Peter Bowen, found Dineur four years ago when he was in training with Alan King. But he picked up a leg injury at Cheltenham in January 2015 and the vet pretty much said he wouldn’t race again.

    He had 13 months off the track but then I told Dad I wanted something to run in the Fox Hunters’, so we went to see him in the field. I asked his owner Gwilym Morris if I could have him back in training and he agreed to it.

    He actually went summer jumping with my dad last year up until October before coming back to me.

    I have been training on my own for three years now. I rode in point-to-points before, however, I always knew that I wanted to train racehorses.

    I am based at my dad’s place in Pembrokeshire — I keep the 10 horses I have in training in one of his yards. My brother James rides all my pointers for me. He’s only recently turned 16 but has already had seven wins pointing for me in just one month — it’s a real family affair.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 13 April 2017