Having won the Irish Grand National in 2007, it was Butler’s Cabin ridden by Tony McCoy that headed into the 162nd running of John Smith’s Grand National as the 7-1 favourite. A sun drenched Aintree saw a flawless start and the gathered thousands roared their approval as the 40 strong field got under way.
Two fell at the first fence, with Barry Geraghty on Golden Flight and Himalayan Trail having their races cut short before they’d had a chance to get going. Irish Invader led heading to the 2nd fence with Paul Townend in the saddle, but a pack of up to 20 other riders were close enough to take over at any moment. The second fence saw Ollie Magern and Brooklyn Brownie join the list of fallen horses.
The 11-1 shot, Black Apalachi, ridden by Denis O’Regan was the first to clear Becher’s Brook for the first time, closely followed by the Willie Mullins trained Irish Invader and Silver Brook, the winner of this race just two years previously. These three surged ahead at the Canal Turn, with the rest of the field jostling for position.
Crossing the Melling Road and approaching the Chair, the runners began to spread out and Black Apalachi continued to make the running with Butler’s Cabin some 10 lengths back in 12th. Not much changed over the next few fences, but it was all change when both Black Apalachi and Silver Birch fell when well placed over Becher’s.
This left Hear the Echo ridden by Davy Russell at the head of the race with Offshore Account just in behind. Around ten other riders were within 3 to 4 lengths, so it was still anyone’s race going over Valentine’s for the second time. The leading group included a number of challengers, including Mon Mome, the pre race favourite Butler’s Cabin and last year’s winners, Comply or Die.
All to Play For
15 horses were still tightly grouped together 2 fences out, with Ruby Walsh on My Will leading. Comply or Die looked to have stolen a march over the last, but it was Mon Mome ridden by Liam Treadwell in his first ever National that finished the strongest, winning by a clear 12 lengths.
In doing so, Mon Mome had just become the French trained horse to win this race for more than 100 years and the 100-1 shot had left the bookies amongst the happiest people present on the course that day.