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.

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”.

 

 

Caughoo  The form book records that the 1947 Grand National was won by Caughoo, a small, unheralded 8-year-old owned by Dublin jeweller Jack McDowell, trained by his brother Herbert and ridden by Eddie Dempsey, predominantly a work rider, completely unknown outside of Ireland. His victory was, in itself, remarkable enough.

 

Neither horse nor jockey had previously raced in England, never mind over the National fences at Aintree but, belying his 100/1 starting price, Caughoo defeated Lough Conn and fifty-six other rivals – including such luminaries of the day as Prince Regent, Revelry and Silver Fame – by 20 lengths and further in a common canter. British Pathé News reported the end of a “grand Grand National”, but the finish of the race was just the start of a controversy that was to last for five decades or more.

 

The weather at Aintree on National Day was foul, with rain and thick fog reducing visibility to a few hundred yards, at best, and the going was heavy. Caughoo had won the Ulster Grand National at Downpatrick in 1945 and 1946, so was not without ability, and had been set to Aintree in the hope that a change of scenery would rekindle his enthusiasm. However, few people expected him to complete the National course at all, let alone in such a fast time.

 

Astonishingly, one of them, Daniel McCann, rider of the second horse home, Lough Conn, accused Eddie Dempsey of ‘lingering’ at the twelfth fence – the last fence before Melling Road – on the first circuit and rejoining the race on the second circuit, having failed to jump at least half of the thirty obstacles. A row broke out in the bar, during which Eddie Dempsey was assaulted by McCann – who subsequently served time at Her Majesty’s pleasure – and, although the court case brought by McCann was dismissed, it wasn’t until 1999, 10 years after Dempsey’s death, that evidence came to light vindicating horse and rider.

 

At that time, the Irish Mirror obtained photographic evidence of Caughoo jumping Becher’s Brook on two separate occasions. Peter McDowell, son of owner Jack McDowell, said at the time, “Caughoo was a good little horse and won the National fairly. We always knew that. We have pictures to prove it.”

 

Tipperary Tim  Legend has it that, prior to winning the 1928 Grand National on 100/1 outsider Tipperary Tim, some joker told amateur jockey Mr. William Dutton that the only way his mount could win was if all his rivals fell. That may or may not be true but, either way, in a bizarre twist of fate, Tipperary Tim was the only one of the 42 runners to negotiate all of the National fences without mishap and came home a distance clear of Billy Barton, who had been remounted after falling at the final fence.

 

 

Owned by Harold Kenyon and trained by Joseph Dodd, Tipperary Tim was apparently named after Tim Crowe, a Tipperary native who was, for 15 years, Irish cross country champion.

 

 

The 1928 Grand National was run in treacherous foggy weather conditions on bottomless ground. Problems began at the eighth fence on the first circuit of the 2¼-mile course, known as the Canal Turn, which, in those days, featured a ditch before the fence itself. One of the classier horses in the field, Easter Hero – who would go on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1929 and 1930 – stood off too far and jumped into, rather than over, the fence, causing a melee from which just seven horses emerged with their jockeys intact.

 

 

Rather than taking the fence diagonally, Mr. Dutton, a solicitor by trade, had plotted a longer, but safer, course around the outside of the Canal Turn, so Tipperary Tim was still standing. By the time the field reached the twenty-ninth, and penultimate, fence, only three horses, Great Span, Billy Barton and Tipperary Tim, in that order, were left standing. Great Span departed with a slipping saddle, leaving Billy Barton in the lead, briefly, but the new leader parted company with jockey Tommy Cullinan at the final fence, leaving Tipperary Tim to gallop on to an unlikely victory.

 

 

Coincidentally, the 1929 Grand National was also won by a 100/1 outsider, Gregalach but, since then, only three more horses at treble-figure odds – Caughoo in 1947, Foinavon in 1967 and Mon Mome in 2009 – have won the Aintree marathon.