Great Expectations: The Grand National 2010

As the clock ticks down to Grand National Day (tomorrow, Saturday April 10th 2010) bookies and punters will be anxiously watching. The bookies will be hoping for a non-repeat of last year’s result when rank outside Mon Mome romped home 12 lengths ahead of the field. The punters however will be eager to see a big payout. From even before starter’s orders to the first hoof over the finish line, anything could happen.

2009’s Grand National saw two false starts and a total outsider, Mon Mome – ranked 100/1 – claim the glory, winning one of the most anticipated events in racing’s calendar.
Known for its challenging four and a half miles over 30 fences, you can never be sure what to expect from a National. Whether it’s two finishers from a field of up to 40 (as happened in 1928) or a rank outsider galloping home to victory, you never can tell.
Last year Mon Mome, ridden by Laim Treadwell, streaked home lengths ahead of 2008’s winner Comply or Die (14/1), My Will (8/1) and State of Play (14/1), making trainer Venetia Williams the second woman to train a National winner after Jenny Pitman.
Since the first official race in 1836, there have only been four other rank-outsiders to have come home ahead of the rest of the field – Tipperary Tim (1928), Gregalach (1929), Caughoo (1947) and Foinavon (1967).
This year, Mon Mome, ridden by  Aidan Coleman is ranked at 12-1 (Ladbrokes’ odds on Friday 9th). If he manages to claim the coveted racing title in 2010 he will be the first horse to win back-to-back Nationals since Red Rum. 
Check any of the racing tips websites or papers and no one’s confidently predicting a winner, let alone a Mon Mome double. The field of 40, plus four reserves, includes horses young and old, some making their National debut (The Package) while some are old-hands or previous winners. 
Tomorrow could be anyone’s race. That’s what makes the Grand National an amazing event. In the few minutes it takes for the field to clear 30 fences absolutely anything could happen. As the horses and jockeys get under starter’s orders tomorrow, prepare to be on the edge of your seat, tentatively watching your TV or listening to your radio. Whether you like horse racing or not, this has the potential to be ten of the most exhilarating minutes of your life.

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