A former point-to-point trainer, Peter Bowen, took out a full training licence at his yard in Little Newcastle, near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire in 1995. He saddled his first winner, Iffee – incidentally, ridden by an 18-year-old Richard Johnson, claiming 5lb – in a handicap chase at Sedgefield in October that year. Indeed, Iffee was to prove something of a money spinner for the yard, winning five more times before the end of the 1995/96 season. Another notable success in those early days was Stately Home, beaten three times in selling hurdles in 1995/96, but the winner of nine steeplechases in 1996/97, including the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown.
For readers of a certain age, though, Peter Bowen is probably still best remembered as the trainer of Always Waining, the only horse to win the Topham Chase – run over 2 miles 5 furlongs on the Grand National Course at Aintree – three times. Always Waining finished a fading fourth in the race on his first attempt, as an 8-year-old, in 2009, but returned to win it in 2010, 2011 and 2012, beating 80 rivals and amassing nearly £169,000 in prize money in the process.
Bowen had his biggest payday ever when, in 2008, 33/1 chance Snoopy Loopy took advantage of a stumble on landing by Kauto Star at the final fence to win the Betfair Chase at Haydock. Other high-profile winners over the years have included 40/1 chance Al Co in the Coral Scottish Grand National in 2014 and, more recently, Henllan Harri in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in 2017.
Bowen has yet to train a winner at the Cheltenham Festival, but went close to winning the ‘Blue Riband’ event of National Hunt racing, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Take The Stand in 2005. The 9-year-old was sent off at 25/1 and, although outpaced by the winner, Kicking King, in the closing stages, stuck on well to finish clear second.