Mon Mome, who won the Grand National in 2009 at odds of 100/1, had the distinction of being the first winner to be returned at treble-figure odds since Foinavon in 1967. However, unlike Foinavon, who was effectively ‘gifted’ the race when a mêlée at the twenty-third fence – which now bears his name – put paid to the chances of anything else still standing, Mon Mome beat Comply Or Die, winner of the race in 2008, and sixteen other finishers fair and square.

Owned by Vida Bingham, trained by Venetia Williams and ridden in the National by Liam Treadwell, Mon Mome had his task made easier when the well-fancied Black Apalachi unseated jockey Denis O’Regan at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit, but there appeared no fluke about his performance. Indeed, to win by as far as he did under 11 stone was no mean feat, especially considering that in the previous twenty renewals, only Rhyme ‘N’ Reason in 1989 and Hedgehunter in 2005 had carried 11 stone or more to victory.

Patiently ridden on the first circuit, Mon Mome crept stealthily into contention against the other Grand National runners on the run to the Canal Turn and continued his progress through the field, but was still just one of a host of horses in contention on the home turn. He jumped the final fence upsides Comply Or Die, but was soon driven clear of his toiling rival to win by 12 lengths. Second favourite My Will finished third, a further 1¼ lengths away, with State Of Play 4½ lengths further back in fourth.

Unfortunately, rather than congratulating winning jockey Liam Treadwell on riding a Grand National winner at the first attempt, on a 100/1 chance, BBC racing presenter Claire Balding seemed more intent on making fun of his less-than-perfect teeth. Treadwell had the last laugh, though, because he was inundated with offers of free dental work, including from a Blackpool dentist who’d backed the winner.

Not to be confused with the winner of the Badminton Horse Trials in 2017, the titular Nereo refers to the horse bred by Beltran de Osorio y Diez de Rivera, otherwise known as the Duke of Alburquerque. In the mid-1970s, the “Iron” Duke, as he was dubbed by the British press, became a household name in Britain thanks to his unsuccessful attempts to win the Grand National on Nereo.



Inspired, as an eight-year-old boy, by a newsreel of the 1928 Grand National, the Duke had tried, and failed, to complete the National course on Brown Jack III, in 1952, Jonjo, in 1963, Groomsman, in 1965, and L’Empereur, 1966. In so doing, though, he had collected a total of 22 fractures, including cracked vertebrae and a broken leg.



After a seven-year sabbatical, during which he “didn’t have the horses for the race”, he returned to Aintree for his first attempt aboard the 7-year-old Nereo, trained by his “very good friend” Fred Winter. The Duke, now 53, rode a more patient race and steered a wider course than had been the case in the past but, having broken a stirrup leather at the third fence, parted company with Nereo at the Canal Turn on the first circuit.



The partnership was back for the 1974 Grand National, the Duke riding in a plaster cast after breaking his collarbone in a fall at Newbury a week earlier. Remarkably, for the first time, they completed the course, albeit finishing eighth of eight finishers. The Duke later recalled, “Fred [Winter] was furious that I was riding in the race and his instructions were monosyllabic. Ironically, it was my best performance in the National, when I was in the worst condition. The poor animal had to do everything on his own. He didn’t have a jockey on board, but a sack of potatoes.”



Having missed the 1975 National with multiple compound fracture of his right leg, the Duke rode Nereo for the third and final time in the 1976 renewal. Nereo fell at the thirteenth and the Duke was trampled by other horses, sustaining multiple fractures, severe concussion and spending two days in a coma. In typical style, the Duke recalled, “I spent most of my time there [Liverpool Walton Hosiptal] unconscious, but when I did wake up, the staff were charming.”



In 1977, at the age of 57, the Duke had his riding licence revoked “for his own safety”. Fred Winter said at the time, “I am both very sad and very relieved”.