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Is favourite status at the horse racing a poisoned chalice?

IN COOPERATION WITH BETWAY

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Tiger Roll’s win at the Grand National extended the run at the event without the pre-race favourite taking home the crown.

Gordon Elliott’s charge put forward a brilliant performance at Aintree, although he was almost beat at the line by Pleasant Company, edging out his late surge by a head. The bay gelding was a strong contender for the crown given his display at Cheltenham Festival. Tiger Roll was on form in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, dominating the rest of the field to deliver a comfortable victory. He maintained his standards at the National and was flawless over 4 miles 510 yards, although the horse almost gave it away in the last four yards of the race.

Tiger Roll’s triumph made it eight-straight years that the race favourite has not claimed victory. The last favourite to win the crown was Don’t Push It in 2010 for Jonjo O’Neill as Tony McCoy rode the horse to victory by five lengths. Comply Or Die had success two years before as the favourite but the trend has moved away from the consensus selection in recent years, with the tag seen as some people as a poisoned chalice. A study by Betway has highlighted the issue that only nine joint and outright favourites have won the event since 1946.

Total Recall became the latest victim of the curse, although he appeared to be feeling the effects of his run at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He finished off the pace in the Festival but was expected to rise to the challenge of the longer race. The major events are the biggest test of competitors and trainers, and there’s no atmosphere like the National. However, he could not compete with the pace of Tiger Roll and failed to finish the event, pulling up at the 29th fence. The unpredictability of the National makes it a must-watch, although the struggle of the favourite is becoming a staple.

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