The Grand National: horse racing’s most popular contest. In fact, last year’s Randox Health Grand National had over 600 million viewers around the world. Gambling sites and real money online pokies have dubbed the race the “ultimate test of horse and rider” due to the extremely lengthy four-mile distance and menacing jumps, the National has been a feature in the horse racing calendar for over 200 years. And, that shows little sign of slowing down.
Its £1 million prize fund is an incredible earner for jockeys, but the National is also responsible for taking in over £300 million in bets from punters hoping to get lucky.
This years event has been cancelled and replaced with a virtual version, and odds will be available on the day across bookmaker sites and online casinos United Kingdom.
There have been some unbelievable Grand Nationals over the years, and with this year's event cancelled, we’ve decided to look at the horses which have created the greatest upsets.
Foinavon – 1967 – 100/1
Winners that have been rated at 100/1 don’t really tend to pop up that often. 1967 was, however, the exception. Foinavon, ridden by John Buckingham, was able to avoid a pile-up – later called “a battlefield” – at the 23rd fence caused by loose horse Popham Down to screech to an unlikely if superb victory. In fact, Buckingham was so unfancied that neither his own nor trainer made the journey to Aintree, making the victory even more sweet.
Mon Mome – 2009 – 100/1
Wind the clock forward 42 years and the next 100/1 winner was finally found: Mon Mome. Jockey Liam Treadwell rode a perfect race as Mon Mome thrashed the rest of the field to streak home, a dozen lengths ahead of Comply Or Die in second. That old cliche of a horse not knowing his price stands true as Mon Mome secured one of the easiest National victories in history.
Ayala – 1963 – 66/1
Ayala was given no chance at the 1963 National – that prediction was epitomized by the fact that a 19-year-old was given the reigns. Pat Buckley was the rider, with Ayala thought to be lucky if it even made it round a circuit.
But, the applecart was well and truly upset as Ayala and Buckley rode to glory, having been given odds at 66/1. Keith Piggott – Lester’s father – was the owner – as Ayala finished half a length in front of Carrickbeg.
Auroras Encore – 2013 – 66/1
Hardly given a chance before the race began, Ryan Mania on Auroras Encore – trained by Sue Smith – defied the 66/1 odds slapped upon him and his horse to win by a comfortable nine lengths. Cappa Bleu finished second, but no one could deny Mania victory in what was one of the most memorable triumphs in recent years. Though, few people cheered as bookmakers secured victory.
Last Suspect – 1985 – 50/1
Back to the archives and to the 1980s as Hywel Davies on Last Suspect shocked the field and blew fellow competitors out of the water to take home the National in ‘85. 11-year-old Last Suspect triumphed by one-and-a-half lengths over Mr Snugfit, with the tense finish ensuring backers held on to their breath until the last possible second.