04/03/2009 11:00PM

Mon Mome in stunner at Aintree


Mon Mome sprung a 100-1 surprise in the $1.3 million Grand National Handicap Chase at Aintree on Saturday, outsprinting last year's winner, Comply or Die, after those two had jumped the last of 30 fences in tandem. The 12-length victory of the 9-year-old, trained by Venetia Williams, was engineered by Liam Treadwell in his first Grand National ride and illustrated the extraordinary dominance that French-bred horses have assumed in British jump racing.

The 4 1/2-mile steeplechase was up for grabs approaching the second-to-last fence as a dozen horses were still in contention, but Mon Mome had a lot more left in the tank than any of his rivals. My Will, fifth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, was third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Comply or Die. State of Play was fourth and the 7-1 favorite, Butler's Cabin, was seventh as 17 of the 40 starters completed the course.

After two false starts, Black Apalachi took a quick lead and was jumping smoothly with a clear advantage until landing badly at Becher's Brook the second time around, pitching rider Denis O'Regan over his head, from which point the race was on.

Mon Mome, French for "My Kid," is a son of Passing Sale, a three-time group race winner on the flat in France and Italy. The winner of the 166th Grand National, he was bred in France by Alexandre Deschere and began his career on May 2, 2004, at Pontivy in Brittany in a 1 5/8-mile flat race for AQPS horses. AQPS is the French acronym for "other than Thoroughbred," a stout-hearted, mostly Thoroughbred breed derived from non-Thoroughbred French-bred mares that has helped French-breds, whether AQPS or entirely Thoroughbred, take control of the British jumping world. AQPS horses are allowed to run in jump races in France and England, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner The Fellow was among the breed's most notable runners.

French-breds won 8 of the 13 graded stakes at Aintree's three-day Grand National meeting, including four of the five Grade 1's, with Madison du Berlais in the Totesport Bowl Chase, Walkon in the Matalan Novices Hurdle, Voy Por Ustedes in the Melling Chase, and Solwhit in the Aintree Hurdle.

Bought shortly after his Pontivy debut by English horsewoman Vida Bingham, Mon Mome was one of seven French-breds in the Grade 3 Grand National, among the others third-place My Will, fifth-place Cerium, and seventh-place Butler's Cabin.