Grand National remains the race to define a career
The Aintree Grand National has provided many memorable moments in its 184-year history. From legendary horses like Red Rum, dramatic falls, pile-ups, and even a race that never was, the world-famous contest has seen it all.
Some of the greatest memories have come when a rank outsider shocks the racing industry to win the richest jumps race in Europe. There have been many big-priced winners in the past, including the infamous Foinavon, whose name is now associated with the fence that made him famous.
In more recent times, however, it is the brilliant tale of Mon Mome’s 100/1 victory in 2009 that comes to mind.
In recent years, the Irish have dominated, and that looks likely again in 2023, where just 31 of the 85 entries are trained on home soil. But this is a race where you always expect the unexpected, so Venetia Williams’ entries of Quick Wave, Royal Pagaille and Cloudy Glen are to be respected.
The shock winner
Trained by Herefordshire trainer, Venetia Williams, Mon Mome was considered a no-hoper in the 2009 Aintree showpiece, and given the form that he had previously shown, it was perhaps no surprise. Owned by Vida Bingham, Mon Mome had won just once in three years coming into the 2009 renewal and had been beaten by a combined 99 lengths in his final two starts before arriving at Aintree.
Every bookmaker and horse racing betting website had priced Mon Mome as a 100/1 also ran, but they, as well as everyone else, were left speechless after the then 9-year-old chaser cruised to a 12-length victory under the late lamented jockey, Liam Treadwell.
Pundits, fans, and free horse racing betting tips suppliers scratched their heads, wondering where on earth the result had come from. Mon Mome had shown some ability as a youngster but even the bravest of backers would have thought twice before putting their hard-earned money on Venetia Williams’ horse.
Williams & Treadwell
Mon Mome’s victory meant that Williams would become the first female trainer to win the Grand National since 1995, the same year that she had taken out her training licence having learned her trade from the legendary Martin Pipe. Williams has taken over the dubious mantle of racing’s leading lady from another Aintree expert in Jenny Pitman, whose Royal Athlete became her second winner that year.
It was also the highlight of the career of Mon Mome’s jockey, Liam Treadwell. The English jockey was having his first-ever ride in the famous 4-mile race, but showed no signs of nerves or inexperience when guiding his mount over the famous fences and powering home to the surprise win.
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The trio of Williams, Treadwell, and Mom Mome, would cause another surprise at the following year’s Cheltenham Festival by finishing third in the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup. The following month they would attempt to defend their National crown, but were ultimately disappointed as Mon Mome came down in the latter stages of the race having been in contention once again.
Mon Mome would have one more run in the Grand National in 2012 but was sadly pulled up by new jockey, Aidan Coleman. He went on to race on six more occasions without success and was eventually retired by his trainer at the age of 13.
Venetia Williams described her stable favourite as a ‘dream horse to train’, and still considers his 100/1 shock Grand National win as the greatest day of her training career.
Mon Mome was the biggest-priced winner in 42 years in 2009, and his winning odds have not been matched ever since.