Mon Mome  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.

3 Horses Who Could Carry Top Weight in the 2019 Grand National

Aintree Racecourse” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Mick Roche

The Grand National has attracted an initial 112 entries for the 2019 renewal of the Aintree showpiece.

As the world’s most famous steeplechase, some class horses have won the extended four-and-a-quarter mile race over two circuits and 30 fences down the years.

This year could see highly rated horses by the BHA line-up on Merseyside heading the 40-runner field on Saturday, 6 April.

While the weights aren’t published alongside initial entries as handicappers produce their own special adjusted ratings for the Grand National, their official marks are an early guide.

With that in mind then, here are three horses who could carry top weight in the 2019 renewal of this ultimate equine test of endurance.

Bristol De Mai

If the Grand National was run at Haydock instead of Aintree, then Bristol De Mai would surely be favourite with bookmakers.

There’s just something about that other Merseyside racecourse that seems to suit the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained, Simon Munir and Isaac Souede owned eight-year-old.

Bristol De Mai has won back-to-back runnings of the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock, but isn’t suited by other tracks that host leading staying chases like Kempton and Cheltenham.

That has earned him a BHA rating of 173, the highest of all potential Grand National runners. While previous Aintree form has Bristol De Mai zero from three, none of his previous career appearances there have come over the spruce-covered fences.

It’s clear that galloping left-handed tracks that are relatively flat suit him. The prospect of carrying top weight if Bristol De Mai runs means he’s 40/1 with most bookmakers to become his trainer’s third winner of the world-famous race.

Anibale Fly

Irish raiders have a 40 per cent Grand National strike rate in the previous two decades, and the first four home in last year’s race were all trained in the Emerald Isle.

In-behind Tiger Roll, Pleasant Company and veteran Bless The Wings at Aintree 12 months ago was Anibale Fly for well-known handicap plotters Tony Martin and JP McManus.

Finishing fourth in the Grand National after placing third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on his previous start meant he was far from disgraced in either.

Anibale Fly is thus a hugely consistent horse in staying chases and fully earned an official rating of 167.

That form and the fact he’s only a nine-year-old now makes him well worth considering as an each-way punt for Aintree again at 33/1 and Grand National free bets available through Oddschecker.

Elegant Escape

A prerequisite of any horse tackling this Merseyside marathon is proof they stay. Stamina is essential, and the eye is drawn to those animals who have won the other National races in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Elegant Escape improved from second in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury to Welsh Grand National glory on his first try at 3m 5f over Christmas.

That Chepstow victory has seen the seven-year-old’s official rating rise into the 160s and trainer Colin Tizzard has already winners over the Grand National fences.

While they have come in the Topham Chase over a much shorter trip, seven-year-old Elegant Escape may already possess sufficient endurance to have a crack at the big one.

Having carried 11st 8lb on his back when winning the Welsh National, he looks capable of going well under a welter burden. Elegant Escape has Grand National quotes ranging from 25/1 to 14/1 with the bookies, meaning he’s prominent in the betting.

Nereo & The Duke of Alburquerque  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”.