Grand National Jockey: James Bowen

22 May 2020
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James Bowen is known as wunderkind jockey who, at the age of 16, became the youngest jockey to win the Welsh Grand National back in 2017. He’s also been the Champion conditional jockey and rode several other winners in high-profile televised races already in his short career. Does Bowen have the makings of a future Grand National-winning jockey? Let’s look at his performances to date and assess his future chances.

James Bowen: Career Path

Bowen’s first races under rules came in the 2016/17 season; however, it wasn’t until the following year when his natural talent and true class started to show. He hit the headlines in a big way with his victory in the Coral Welsh National and continued his fine form with victories in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton and the Holloway Hurdle at Ascot.

Regardless of this impressive race wins, Bowen is still a young jockey, which means he has to muck out the horses each morning at Nicky Henderson’s yard where he works. He certainly hasn’t let his rising stardom go to his head. In fact, we would say, it’s the exact opposite.

Bowen doesn’t talk much about his race victories, but he never forgets the ones that slip away. These are the races that niggle him and this is what drives him to constantly improve. This level-headed attitude has already seen him clock up 150+ race wins and another 360 place finishes between 2nd and 4th. This wunderkid like Sam is on many Grand National betting punters minds.

James Bowen Grand National

Bowen’s Personal Profile

When it comes to Bowen’s personal life, it’s important to mention that he comes from a family where horse racing runs through the blood. He’s the son of Peter Bowen, a top racehorse trainer, and the younger brother of Sean Bowen, who is also a National Hunt jockey.

Sean is also very highly-rated, and he was Champion conditional jockey in 2015, just a few years before James won the same title.

According to Peter Bowen, his sons were riding horses before they could walk. So, it’s not surprising to see them setting records. In addition, James Bowen claims that he has never felt pushed by his parents to engage in horse racing, and he got into it by himself. His oldest brother, Mickey, helps their dad as a trainer.

Notable Wins

While Bowen was the youngest jockey to win the Welsh Grand National, his horse, 13-year-old Raz de Maree, was the oldest horse to win the race since WWII. The two of them really beat the odds since they started at 16/1 to make other daring bets be sure to be on the lookout for Grand National betting offers. Here are a few more of his big race wins:

DateRaceHorseTrainer
Jun ‘19PSR Marquees Handicap HurdleWells De LuneP Bowen
Mar ‘19Midlands Grand National (Listed)Potters CornerC Williams
Dec ‘18Garrard Silver Cup Handicap ChaseValtorN Henderson
Nov ‘18Standard open National Hunt (Listed)Master DebonairC Tizzard
Apr ‘17Fair Maid of Perth Mares’ Chase (Listed)Rons DreamP Bowen
Jan ‘18Holloway’s Handicap HurdleWilliam HenryN Henderson
Jan ‘18Lanzarote Handicap HurdleWilliam HenryN Henderson
Dec ‘17Welsh Grand National (Grade 3)Raz De MareeG Cromwell
Nov ‘17Betfair Exchange Handicap HurdleLimited ReserveC Williams

So, what about James Bowen – Grand National jockey? He currently has two National rides under his belt. He made his debut in this famous Steeplechase in 2018 when he rode Shantou Flyer. The horse pulled up at the 26th fence so he was classed as a non-finisher.

The next year, he mounted the Richard Spencer-trained Outlander which was an unfancied 66/1 shot, which he guided around the 4 mile 3½ furlong course to a respectable 9th place. This bodes well for the future. He will have many opportunities to win this race and given how he is performing, we believe it will happen sooner rather than later.

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