Short prices: Being favourite cannot guarantee Grand National success
With Shutthefrontdoor set to go off as little as 5/1 in this year’s Grand National at Aintree, Coral’s horse racing experts look at the shortest favourites to go off over the years.
Saturday has the potential for the shortest price favourite in many years as Shutthefrontdoor is Tony McCoy’s final ride ever over the iconic spruced up fences on Merseyside. Sentiment is certainly governing the betting market.
Shutthefrontdoor could easily go off at similar odds to Red Rum’s starting price back in 1975 when he was sent off 7/2 favourite in his search for a third success in the race. His main problem was the softer ground which suited former Gold Cup winner L’Escargot a lot better, and he thrashed Rummy by a wide margin fifteen lengths.
Red Rum wasn’t the shortest price favourite ever. Golden Miller certainly holds his claims as he was sent off 2/1 favourite in 1935 when fresh from another Gold Cup success, only to get rid of jockey Gerry Wilson at the 11th fence. More recently, Hedgehunter and Clan Royal both went off 5/1 joint-favourites in 2006 when they were second and third behind Numbersixvalverde.
Over the years as well, several horses have threatened to go off at scarily short prices, but thankfully it doesn’t materialise. Double Thriller in 1999 being a prime example.
Having finished fourth in the Gold Cup, he threatened to go off a really short price, yet drifted markedly on the day. Unluckily for his backers, he only got as far as the first fence where he overjumped and unseated 19-year-old Joe Tizzard.
Another recent example was Cloudy Lane when he racked up his sequence of wins, including the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster, and he also threatened to go off roughly around the 7/2 mark. He turned out to be one of those favourites that drifted on the day, and he eventually went off 7/1 joint-favourite with that year’s National winner Comply Or Die.