"It’s always good to beat the French!" - Positive World Cup omen for England at Haydock Park
"We just pipped them."
World Cup fever is building, and while we all might have a different favourite for the tournament, there is no doubting the frontrunners.
The Betfair Race to the World Cup Stakes - a five-furlong dash - took place at Haydock Park Racecourse, to predict the winner of the World Cup. The race was won by England, with top jockey Bryony Frost in the saddle.
Horses representing the top six sides in the World Cup lined up with Brazil and Argentina strongly-fancied to triumph, but in the end it was Frost that steered England home to leave her rivals in her wake.
England started slowly in the opening stages as Argentina and Germany took an early lead in the race. Frost put the home favourite in a position to strike in the closing stages, but France appeared to be finishing the strongest, only for England to dig deep and come home first.
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Any England supporter looking for a sign that this World Cup may end up with their side going one step further than Euro 2020, will be clinging to this race win. Gareth Southgate's side kick off their campaign against Iran, on Monday.
Former England manager, Glenn Hoddle was on hand in the winners’ enclosure for the trophy celebrations. Hoddle, a Betfair ambassador, now hopes the race is a sign Southgate’s side will come out on top in Qatar, in the coming weeks. He said:
"The whole thing was great, really good fun... It’s always good to beat the French! The French were coming first and we just pipped them. So what’s lovely is it sets it up nicely for Qatar and now the boys have got to go out there and win it for the country. That would be a great double. When you’re in a World Cup tournament, you need to take every positive you can get. The boys will be trying for their country as Bryony Frost was for England today."
"I hope football comes home," said Frost, "so I’ll be cheering on the lads. We all really enjoyed the race, the vibe coming out with all the jockeys was awesome and the crowd absolutely loved it too."
In terms of World Cup odds, Brazil are favourites with Betfair, at 7/2, followed by Argentina 11/2, France 13/2, Spain 15/2, England 8/1, and Germany at 11/1.