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FIGHTING THE FAVOURITE | Is Any Second Now a worthy leader in the Grand National market?

Resident writer Reece Charlton debates whether Ted Walsh’s recruit can deliver in the 2022 Grand National as the favourite

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Any Second Now and jockey Derek O'Connor (right) go on to win the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse.

There have been some truly great horses come into the Grand National picture, with the likes of Gold Cup winner Master Oats and dual Martell Cup (now Betway Bowl) Docklands Express going off as favourite for the race in the past.

Neither of them won.

The favourite for a 40-runner race seems to be hard to support at the best of times, especially due to the depth of the contest.

So it is worth backing Any Second Now at the best price of 10/1 at this stage? Here are a few stats that could steer you away from blindly backing the favourite here.

ONLY THREE OF THE LAST 38 WINNERS HAD WON OR PLACED IN THE GRAND NATIONAL PREVIOUSLY

This stat was mentioned in the ‘three stats to know’ article earlier in the week and it should hammer home the lay side of the argument here.

The only three horses to previously finish in the top four of the Grand National and go on to win it later down the line are Tiger Roll (2018 + 2019), Amberleigh House (2003 + 2004) and Hello Dandy (1983 + 1984).

Magic Of Light is a good example for this stat as the mare finished second in the 2019 edition but couldn’t repeat the heroics in 2021 when 5lbs higher in the ratings, unseating her rider at the fourth fence.

Magic Of Light Favourite
Magic Of Light finished second in the 2019 contest for Jessica Harrington

With Any Second Now rising 7lbs in the ratings following last year’s third-place finish in the contest, it seems a daunting task for the favourite to overturn this stat.

ONLY ONE FAVOURITE HAS WON IN THE LAST 10 RUNNINGS

It’s a slight worrying stat for Any Second Now, as only the mighty Tiger Roll has delivered as the market favourite since 2011 in this contest.

T3509E AINTREE, Liverpool, UK. 6th Apr, 2019. Tiger Roll winner of the 2019 Randox Grand National ridden by D N Russell. He becomes the first horse to since Red Rum 45 years ago to win the hurdles event race back-to-back. 40 runners, 30 fences and more than four-and-a-quarter miles, the National is the ultimate test for horses and riders.
Tiger Roll is the only favourite to win the Grand National since 2011

In fact, the favourite has failed to finish the race in two of the last three renewals with both Total Recall and Cloth Cap being pulled up in the 2018 and 2021 editions.

But some market leaders have also produced respectable performances. Tiger Roll thundered home to win by three lengths in the 2019 contest while The Last Samuri (2016) and Blaklion (2017) finished second and fourth when marked as favourites.

IS HE WORTH BACKING?

A favourite is seriously tough to back in a 40-runner handicap chase and on a personal level, I would be looking for more value in this field especially as eight of the last 12 winners held odds of 14/1 or more.

While Any Second Now is in good stead following his Bobbyjo Chase success, his price is as low as 8/1 in places and the previous winners/placed stat worries me here.

8/1 does not hint at value in this contest and he has risen 7lbs in the ratings since his third-place finish in last year’s renewal. It could well be worth taking him on with a better-priced option in this contest.

Reece Charlton is a Content Writer at Low6 that specializes in horse racing. He is an avid hunter of value in the racing world, picking out longshots six days a week across the National Hunt and Flat cards on offer across the UK and Ireland. He keeps punters and race fans in the know with his racing expertise with previews and value picks for all the big cards and meetings.

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