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Image Source: RedIndian via Twitter

The Scottish-trained horse will not get the opportunity to defend his crown at the event next season due to injury. As a result, Blaklion and the rest of the field will be vying to become the new champion.

The bay gelding is already considered the favourite at odds of 16/1 for the race next season, although he will need a strong campaign over the winter and the start of next year to round into prime form.

Nigel Twiston-Davies' charge had an extremely impressive start to his career, winning his opening four races. His first result other than a victory was a second-place finish at Cheltenham in the Novices' Hurdle in 2014.

However, he was quickly back into the winners' circle at the same racecourse, triumphing in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

Blaklion trod water for six races, which included pulling up and a fall at Cheltenham. The bay gelding ended his drought without a victory at the end of Harrison James And Hardie Novices' Chase.

Twiston-Davies' charge surged through the field at the right moment and was able to win a comfortable victory by two-and-a-half lengths ahead of Onenightinvienna.

He found his form at the end of the 2015-16 season, securing back-to-back wins for the first time since the start of his career.

The last of which was a victory at Cheltenham Festival, claiming victory at the RSA Chase with a fine run down the stretch. Jockey Ryan Hatch brought the best out of the horse to win by half-a-length ahead of Shaneshill, securing the first major win of his career.

Image Source: Aintree Races via Twitter

Native River's pace was troublesome for the bay gelding to cope with at Aintree in the Novices' Chase, with Twiston-Davies' charge finishing third off the pace of his rival.

Blaklion did not have the best of starts to the 2016-17 season. He was off the pace in the Charlie Hall Chase, finishing in fourth place.

Native River loomed large in his next outing at the Gold Cup Chase at Newbury, with the speed of the Irish horse securing the victory ahead of the talented field.

His search for a victory continued after the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase. Although he was considered the favourite for the meet, jockey Jamie Bargary could not find the pace in the horse down the stretch to conjure the win, with the horse finishing third.

The bay gelding hinted at his best form in the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase, but Vieux Lion Rouge mustered the pace down the stretch to beat out Twiston-Davies' charge at Haydock Park.

He was touted to perform at the Grand National, but was unable to sustain his challenge after settling into second place during the closing stages of the race. The surge of One for Arthur caught him and the rest of the field off-guard and he was unable to make a corresponding move back into the top three, placing in fourth.

Blaklion has the talent but has to have a strong winter to prove that he is more than a pretender for the crown.

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