Aintree’s 100-1 Club – Grand National stunners
The Grand National at Aintree has long been established as one of the fiercest tests on the National Hunt calendar.
The unique Aintree fences, clad with birch, the four-mile plus test and the humdrum of the big day on Merseyside amid a field of 40 contenders make it so.
Connections are often heard to say that ‘every horse in the National has a chance’ and so it has proved down the years with five Aintree Grand National winners returning odds of 100/1.
Here we take a look at the members of that exclusive 100-1 Club in the world’s greatest steeplechase.
1928 – Tipperary Tim (Trainer: Joseph Dodd / Jockey: Mr Bill Dutton)
The 1928 Grand National was a record-breaker in more ways than one. In a 42-horse field, 41 of those horses fell at some point in the race. Of course, this was an era when jockeys could remount, but remarkably there were just two horses to complete the course that year – Tipperary Tim and Billy Barton.
Amateur jockey Mr Bill Dutton claimed afterwards he had heard a friend shout before the race that ‘he could win the race if every other horse fell’ and, low and behold, that proved prophetic with the first every 100-1 winner.
1929 – Gregalach (Trainer: Tom Leader / Jockey: Robert W H Everett)
Could lightning strike twice? Indeed it could as just a year later Aintree witnessed a second straight 100-1 Grand National winner when Gregalach scored.
As with 12 months earlier, the National of 1929 was destined for the history books one way or another as a record tally of 66 horses lined up to start the race. 57 of them failed to complete the course and it was the seven-year-old Gregalach that led the field home.
1947 – Caughoo (Trainer: Herbert McDowell / Jockey: Eddie Dempsey)
By the mid-1940s massive field was still the norm at Aintree and 56 rivals lined up alongside Caughoo in the 1947 renewal, just the second Grand National to be run post-World War II.
A mist descended on the course and much confusion followed about who did what in the race, with Daniel McCann, rider of the runner-up Lough Conn, accusing Eddie Dempsey of taking a shortcut on the 20-length winner. The riders would end up in court but no wrongdoing was ever proved.
1967 – Foinavon (Trainer: John Kempton / Jockey: John Buckingham)
Another remarkable tale and another 100-1 winner came along in 1967 as Foinavon defied the carnage to win under first-time Grand National rider John Buckingham.
At the 23rd fence in the race, Popham Down veered to his right and a mass pile-up ensued as contenders ran into each other, refused to jump and generally unleashed mayhem.
Foinavon had been racing off the pace and, in a fine piece of horsemanship, Buckingham took him through a gap to negotiate the fence, whereupon he landed with a decisive advantage soon as much as 30-lengths.
Some remounted to chase him, with 15-2 favourite Honey End closing to finish second, but Foinavon was never to be caught. The famous ‘Foinavon fence’ is the 7th/23rd fence in the Grand National.
2009 – Mon Mome (Trainer: Venetia Williams / Jockey: Liam Treadwell)
A total of 42 years would go by before another 100-1 shot prevailed at Aintree and that was Mon Mome for the Venetia Williams yard in 2009.
Mon Mome had finished 10th in the great race a year earlier – almost 60 lengths behind winner Comply Or Die – and was again well fended off in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter weeks before his Aintree glory.
Liam Treadwell gave him a patient ride before Mon Mome hit the front at the final fence and swatted aside reigning champ Comply Or Die by 12-lengths.
There is only a month left before we witness the current runners make history, see the latest Grand National Runners info right here.