Known as the world’s greatest steeplechase, the Grand National is popular with both horse racing lovers and those that only watch this one race every year. The incredibly difficult jumps combined with the length of the race makes it a thrilling watch, with horses likely to fall at any moment. The proof of that lies in Foinavon’s win in 1967, running so far behind the rest of the field that he avoided a mass pile-up and won the race.
Had you been one of the horse’s backers that year then you’d have been paid out at odds of 100/1, with punters ever since having a ‘cheeky’ bet on a horse with outside chances simply on the off chance that something as dramatic happens at Aintree Racecourse. Whilst it’s rare for such an incredibly unlikely win to take place, bettors still enjoy the possibility of an outsider winning and, along with the favourites doing so, it’s happened more than once.
Quick Answer: What Have Been the Longest and Shortest Priced Grand National Winners?
Between 1839 and 2023, the longest odds of a winner of the Grand National has been 100/1 which has happened on five occasions. They were Tipperary Tim in 1928, Gregalach in 1929, Caughoo in 1947, Foinavon in 1967 and Mon Mome in 2009.
The record for shortest odds for a Grand National winner is Poethlyn in 1919 who won at odds of 11/4. The shortest odds winner since the turn of the millennium (2000) was Tiger Roll in 2019 who won at 4/1.
The Longest Odds Winners
Where else to start but with the winners of the race that have had the longest odds? It is, after all, the most exciting aspect of horse racing and the one that non-racing lovers tend to watch the Grand National for. Here we’ll have a look at the five horses with the longest odds to win the race, all 100/1, collating the information into a table and then having a brief look at each event in more detail to see if we can spot any sort of pattern.
100/1 Grand National Winners
The good news for the bookies is that no horse has ever won the Grand National with odds of longer than 100/1. That might change at some point in the future, of course, but it’s unlikely. Something to bear in mind if you tend to opt for the betting tactic of picking one short odds horse, one with middling odds and one outsider. If they are that outside of the expected running that they’re over 100/1 then you might want to look elsewhere.
Whilst we can’t learn much from the ages of the horses that won the race as 100/1 outsiders, given that they differ across the board, perhaps the overall story of their winning race can tell us a little bit more about what we want to know. Are there any similarities in what happened during the race, or was it just a matter of the bookmakers getting their odds wrong in most instances? Certainly the looked to learn their lesson after 100/1 winners in both 1928 and 1929…
1928 – Tipperary Tim
Prior to 1928, there had been a number of outsiders that had won the race. Many of them had strange odds, though, such as Lutteur III, who won 1909 at odds of 100/9. Tipperary Tim was the first horse to give the bookies a genuine spanking, though. The Going was Heavy and mist had descended upon Aintree Racecourse during the day, which understandably led to some difficulties in jumping the fences.
Before the race a friend of Tipperary Tim’s amateur jockey, William Dutton, reportedly told him that he’d only win if all of the other horses failed. Little did the friend realise just how prophetic that shout would be. On the first time around the course, Easter Hero fell at the Canal Turn and a mass pile-up ensued. Only seven horses emerged from that with their jockeys still riding, which eventually dropped further until Tipperary Tim was the only one standing.
1929 – Gregalach
Whilst it makes the list here because of the 100/1 outsider that ended up winning the race, the 1929 renewal of the Grand National also made the record books for boasting the largest ever field to run in the event. Sixty-six horses went under starter’s orders, which has never been beaten. In truth, nothing quite as dramatic as the previous year happened this time around, though a vast majority of the horses did fall at some point during the race.
Indeed, the press was full of criticism after the fact because, they claimed, the nature of the Grand National meant that poor horses would often be entered into it. With nine horses finishing the race, however, there wasn’t the same issue as there’d been in 1928. The press’s argument also fell short on account of the fact that the winner had odds of 100/1, fourth place was 200/1 and so were to of the other horses that managed to make it all the way home.
1947 – Caughoo
Interestingly, fifty-seven horses started the Grand National in 1947, which was the largest field since the record was set in 1929. All of them returned to the stables safely after the race, suggesting that it was another one without any major drama. Eight-year-old Caughoo ended up winning the event, finishing twenty lengths in front of second-placed Lough Conn. The Irish horse was a firm outsider, ridden by Eddie Dempsey and tried by Herbert McDowell.
The other interesting point about the 1947 renewal of the Grand National was that three of the first four horses home were from Ireland. Lough Conn had odds of 33/1, which was the same odds given to the French horse, Kami, that finished third. Prince Regent was the best-priced of them all with odds of 8/1 but could only come in fourth. Given that they all had similar weights apart from Prince Regent, it looks like this was just a case of the handicapper getting it wrong.
1967 – Foinavon
The victory for Foinavon in 1967 remains one of the most talked about in Grand National history. It’s unusual that a horse would win the race because they weren’t very fast, but that’s exactly what happened here. Foinavon was nowhere near the leaders as they approached the twenty-third fence. Having unseated his rider at the first, many felt that Popham Down should have been pulled up by then but the fact that he wasn’t led to one of the race’s greatest moments.
The loose horse veered at the fence, causing a huge pile-up and unseating countless horses. Foinavon was so far behind the pack that the horse’s jockey was able to steer him through the melee, emerging free from everyone and with a thirty length lead. It shows just how unfancied he was that he ended up winning by half that amount. Even so, a win is a win and John Buckingham’s riding of the 100/1 outsider is to be admired.
Mon Mome – 2009
At the time of writing, Mon Mome is the most recent horses to win the race with such outrageously long odds. The French-bred horse was ridden by the late Liam Treadwell and beat the 2008 winner, Comply Or Die, by twelve lengths. Trained by Venetia Williams, Mon Mome was the first French horse to win the race in one hundred years, which perhaps helps to explain why the bookmakers got their odds so completely wrong for the horse.
In the end, seventeen horses managed to complete the race. My Will had been made the favourite after coming fifth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, eventually going off joint-favourite and with Ruby Walsh in the saddle. It was Comply Or Die who gave the toughest chase, though, and the he and Mon Mome jumped the last together. Mon Mome had the better legs, however, and won at odds of 100/1. It was another race in which the bookies just seemed to get it wrong.
Other Big Priced Grand National Winners
Were you to back a horse in the Grand National with odds of 66/1 then you’d be absolutely delighted to see it cross the finish line in first place. When it comes to the winners with the longest odds, though, the likes of Auroras Encore, who achieved exactly that in 2013, doesn’t even come close to the 100/1 mark but a very impressive return nonetheless. Likewise Ayala in 1963 and Russian Hero in 1949, who both won with the same odds, as well as 50/1 Last Suspect in 1985.
Incidentally, the first 33/1 winner came in 2001 when Red Marauder won for Norman Mason and Richard Guest with a further three winners at those odds in quick succession in 2007, 2012 and 2016.
33/1 to 66/1 Grand National Winners
|2016||Rule The World||33/1||9||10-7|
The Shortest Odds Winners
Looking at the races involving horses that won with long odds, it’s fair to say that there’s not a lot that we can learn from them. The horses were different ages, carried different weights and what happened in the race differed from year to year. Unless you believe in the coincidence of two of the races take place in the seventh year of the decade or you feel like you’ll be able to predict a mass pile-up causing half of the horses to fall, it’s unlikely you’ll predict an outsider winning.
Of course, the bookmakers actively prefer it when a horse with long odds win a race. It might seem counter-intuitive, but horses with odds as long as 100/1 will only have a limited number of people betting on them and even then they’ll almost certainly be wagering small stakes. The same is not true for the favourites, which will have large amounts people betting both big and small stakes on them and therefore causing the bookies much more pain with victory.
Here’s a look at the five horses with the shortest odds that came out on top at Aintree Racecourse over the years:
Grand National Winners Under 4/1
The first thing that you’ll notice is that all of the horses in the above table, with the exception of Poethlyn, won the race during the nineteenth century. That isn’t overly helpful to modern day bettors, who will surely want more of a clue about what to look out for when placing bets in the twenty-first century. For that reason, we’ll show you another table here of horses that have won with short odds from 2000 onwards.
Shortest Priced Grand National Winners – 2000 to 2023
|2008||Comply Or Die||7/1||9||10-9|
Tiger Roll is obviously the odd one out on the list, not only because he won it in consecutive years, becoming the first horse since Red Rum to do so, but also because he is the only horse to win with short odds that did so as an eight-year-old. The rest of the horses were nine when they won, which gives you some insight into what to look out for when you’re coming to place your bets. If you want to wager on a horse with short odds, make sure that they’re nine or older.
It’s fair to say that most of the shortest odds winners have a far less interesting story to tell then when it comes to the outsiders who romped home surprisingly. Even so, there’s always a tale to tell for the Grand National and these races are no exception. Here’s a look at each of them:
Tiger Roll (4/1) – 2019
When Tiger Roll returned to Aintree Racecourse in 2019 he did so as the defending champion of the Grand National. It’s little surprise that he started the race as the favourite, with many believing that he had what it takes to finally join Red Rum as a horse that had won consecutive races on the Liverpool course. One hundred and twelve horses were originally entered before being whittled down to forty, with Tiger Roll coming from the back to win under Davy Russell.
Hedgehunter (7/1) – 2005
Nine-year-old Hedgehunter was the 7/1 favourite for the race, not least of all because he was being ridden by Ruby Walsh and under the traineeship of Willie Mullins. The race itself was notable thanks to a twenty-five minute delay, which was put in place in order to avoid it clashing with the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. More than half of the horses finished the race, with Hedgehunter finishing fourteen lengths clear of Royal Auclair in second.
Comply Or Die (7/1) – 2008
Comply Or Die went off as the joint favourite in the race, joined at odds of 7/1 by Cloudy Lane. He repeated the trick of Hedgehunter in being a favourite that won the race; something that wouldn’t happen again at Aintree until Tiger Roll in 2019. When Comply Or Die crossed the finish line he did so just four lengths clear of King John’s Castle, making it a truly thrilling final few moments of the World’s Greatest Steeplechase.
Corach Rambler (8/1) – 2023
Having won the Ultima Handicap Chase over three miles and one furlong at the Cheltenham Festival for the second successive year just a matter of weeks before the 2023 Grand National, Corach Rambler was a well fancied runner. Trained by Lucinda Russell and ridden by Derek Fox, the nine-year-old didn’t disappoint his backers, taking hold of the race at the last fence and ridden out for a relatively comfortable 2¼ length win, despite the commotion of the race start being delayed by protestors.
Papillon (10/1) – 2000
Papillon won the one hundred and fifty-third renewal of the Grand National in the millennial year. He did so with a time of nine minutes and nine point seven seconds, doing so with even more excitement than Comply Or Die would manage eight years later on account of only being one and a half lengths clear of Mely Moss. It was a win for Ruby Walsh, who took the 10/1 horse over the finish line in typical style.
Tiger Roll (10/1) – 2018
Tiger Roll might well have gone off as the favourite when he returned to Aintree the year after winning it, but when Davy Russell rode him across the finish line in 2018 he did so as a 10/1 runner. It was arguably the most exciting race of all of those run by the shortest priced winners, given that Tiger Roll only won courtesy of a photo finish with Pleasant Company. It was another race at Aintree in which all runners returned home safely.