Le cheval gagnant: French horses that have won the Grand National
There are few sporting events with as rich a history as the Grand National. Generations of jockeys, trainers and owners have dreamt of winning the race, and it’s an illustrious list of men and women who have overcome tough fields of competitors to achieve that goal and win the Grand National.
The majority of Grand National winners over the years have been British or Irish, but there is a handful of French horses that have succeeded in conquering Aintree Racecourse and bringing the Grand National glory back across the English Channel.
Given that French winners are so rare, France’s horses are usually found at quite long odds in the Grand National betting odds, but there can often be value found among the best French horses taking part in the Aintree showpiece each year.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at the five French-bred winners of the Grand National.
You have to go back to the mid-19th century to find the first French-bred winner of the Grand National. Ridden by Capt. Henry Coventry, Alcibiade was listed at odds of around 100/7 but emerged the victor in a race that only five horses finished. It’s amazing to think that the race we know and love today was being held all those years ago, and the 1865 edition proved to be a moment of real pride for French horses and trainers.
Nine years later, it was Reugny’s turn to land a Grand National triumph for the French. The win was the second successive Grand National win for the trainer-jockey combination of James Machell and John Maunsell Richardson. Reugny was priced around 5/1 before the race, and delivered on those short odds with a 6-length victory over second-place Chimney Sweep.
Lutteur III (1909)
The only winning French horse in the Grand National in the 20th Century was Lutteur III, who triumphed in 1909 with Georges Parfrement in the saddle. Lutteur III is one of just a handful of horses to have won the Grand National at the young age of five, and it was a fine performance from the 10/1 shot to lead the list of finishers at Aintree.
Mon Mome (2009)
Exactly 100 years passed before we witnessed another Grand National winning horse of French descent. It was Mon Mome that broke the duck in 2009, ridden by Liam Treadwell and trained by Venetia Williams. Incredibly, Mon Mome was priced at around 100/1 in the build-up to the race, and became the longest-priced winner since Foinavon some 50 years earlier.
Treadwell sadly passed away last year at the age of just 34, but his sensational performance to win the Grand National in 2009 will live long in the memory.
Neptune Collonges (2012)
Having waiting a century for another French Grand National winner, two came along at once, with Neptune Collonges the victor in 2012. Trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Daryl Jacob, the 33/1 shot survived a close finish to emerge victorious, winning a race by just a nose over second-place Sunnyhillboy.
Nine years later, we’re still waiting for another French winner of the Grand National. With everyone analysing the Grand National tips, could 2021 be the year?