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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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Friday, 16 February 2018

Liam Treadwell & Mon Mome

When Liam Treadwell announced this week that he was retiring as a jump-jockey it brought back memories of his Grand National win in 2009 on the Venetia Williams trained Mon Mome. This was before I started writing my blog in March 2010, however - back then - I was a regular contributor to the Betfair racing forum (now defunct) under the moniker "Wayward Lad". 

Mon Mome was a favourite horse of mine before he ran that day, as I had backed the horse at the 2007 Cheltenham Festival when he'd run 4th in the 3-mile handicap chase on the opening day when he was just a 7yo.  He returned to Cheltenham the following year to contest the same race, but could only finish 6th in 2008.  However, he was staying on very strong from having been well off the pace. After that race, he went to Aintree to contest the Grand National but he was badly hampered when jumping "Bechers" on the 2nd-circuit losing a lot of momentum, and he was never able to get back in contention. 

In the autumn of 2008 his form took an upswing as, on his seasonal debut in November, he very nearly won a Class 2 handicap chase over an inadequate 2m7f, before going to Cheltenham in December and winning a Listed handicap chase over an extended 3m1f beating a very decent field.  On the back of that, he went to Chepstow 15-days later to contest the Welsh National as the 9/2 fav.  That race was run on soft ground which was expected to suit Mon Mome but, if you look at his subsequent form, soft/heavy ground did not bring out the best in him.  He didn't run well, and so was sent to Towcester in mid-January for a 3-mile hurdle race probably to rekindle his enthusiasm. Not being the quickest horse, he could only stay on to be 2nd. He then went to Haydock in mid-February for what has now become the "National Trial" but back then it was Grade 3 handicap chase run over a furlong less than tomorrow's Betfred Grand National Trial being run over 3m4f & 97 yards.  The ground at Haydock was heavy that day, and Mon Mome hated it showing now form at all - but he did finish the race. With marathon distances appearing to suit him, he missed the Cheltenham Festival in 2009 and went for the Midlands National run over 4m1f at Uttoxeter.  The ground was soft that day, and Mon Mome was carrying 11st 12lb. He was the only horse carrying over 11st to finish the race, and he came home a tailed-off last of the 8 finishers - but he had been "in-the-van" up until the 18th fence.

Going into the National, I had reviewed the runners a few weeks before the race (as I always do) and back then I was convinced a horse with more than 11st to carry had little or no chance of winning the race. However, I was aware that a class horse could run particularly well in the Grand National even with a big weight to carry as in 2005 I had backed the French-bred Royal Auclair "place-only" to be in the 1st-4 at 18.0 (or 17/1) on Betfair, and the horse had run 2nd that year (looked like winning 2-out) carrying 11st 10lb.

My shortlist of chase winners over 3-mile; horses aged 8, 9 or 10; allotted weight between 10st 1lb and 11st; included Mon Mome and on reviewing his form I came to the conclusion that the likely "good-to-soft" ground on National day would suit the horse better than the soft/heavy ground on which he'd run his previous 4 races. I also knew (as he'd finished the race in 2008) that he handled the Aintree fences and stayed the trip. To me, he was almost certain to finish the race barring a mishap. I reviewed the race of 2008 and the interference at Bechers was just in camera and he looked lucky not to have been brought down - without that, I thought he could have been in the 1st-4.  As such, I expected the horse to be at 16/1 but was amazed to see he was priced at 40/1 the week before the race. 

I posted my thoughts onto the Betfair forum, and a lively debate ensued - most sages telling me a French-bred could never win the Grand National.  My retort to that was if Kauto Star, Exotic Dancer, or Neptune Collonges (who subsequently won the Grand National in 2012) were running in the race - and they were all French-breds who had filled 3 or the 1st-4 places in that years Cheltenham Gold Cup - would they dismiss their chances so readily?

As the week progressed and various newspaper tipsters posted their selections and previews of the race, most (if not all) ignored Mon Mome, purely on the basis that he was a French-bred, and French-breds don't win the National. As such, Mon Mome's odds went out to 60/1 on the Tuesday before the race, 80/1 on the Thursday before the race, and on the day itself 100/1 was available with some bookies offering 6-places at quarter-odds.  Not only that, layers on Betfair were offering 170 about Mon Mome (my old friend Alan put £6 on Betfair looking to be laid at 200, and he was!).  I was placing money in small amounts all week long, telling all my friends and anyone else who would listen.  An old friend sent me an email the day before the race saying "give me the name of one horse for the National, just one horse" - I wrote back Mon Mome.
On the day of the race, at about mid-day when I became frustrated and a bit annoyed that no mention of the horse had been made on any of the tv coverage; I posted a new thread on Betfair titled "Mon Mome: 9/2 Fav for the Welsh National, 100/1 today - why?" I still have a copy of that thread on my laptop (cut & pasted onto a word file).
Liam Treadwell gave the horse a tremendous ride that day, kept the horse covered-up towards the rear of the field on the 1st-circuit allowing him to find his rhythm and enjoy himself.  As the 2nd-circuit progressed I was confident of a return on the place-part of my eachway wagers when Mon Mome cleared the Canal Turn in about 5th or 6th going easily and the race for home commenced.  As the leaders approached the 2nd-last fence, I thought Mon Mome was the only possible winner as Liam Treadwell had yet to ask his mount a question, and I was stood in front if the tv shouting encouragement that could probably be heard in the next street. It was only as they approached the final fence that Mon Mome was asked, and what a response! On clearing the fence he quickened away and in a matter of strides opened up a winning advantage. What I love about jump racing is when you have a good winner the long run-in from the final fence gives you plenty of time to appreciate the moment - and boy, did I enjoy that moment! 
I can't remember how much I won that day, but it was well into 4 figures.
So, a big "thank you" to Liam Treadwell who contributed towards giving me one of the best days racing I've ever had.
Good luck in the future, you deserve it.  


  1. Thanks for writing this. I was going to write something myself as my own Mon Mome story is very similar to yours and I also ended up winning a very sizeable four-figure sum. I still remember backing him almost every single lunch time - 50p e/w here, £1 e/w there in betting shop near my work, and I had a beautiful looking portfolio on the Betfair Exchange come the day with only Venetia's other horse "Stan" having a slightly bigger return than Mon Mome on my book.

    My shock came when they announced the riding arrangements as I was convinced that Aidan Coleman was going to ride Mon Mome that year and win the National. Instead it was Liam Treadwell for Mon Mome and Aidan Coleman for Stan. I was besides myself for a day or two- convinced they'd messed up and put the wrong lad on each horse but Treadwell rode his customary solid race for Williams and the rest is history. I should have never doubted the lad and never did again. Thank you Liam for giving me one of my best Grand National memories.

  2. Many thanks Steve. Horseracing memories like this are what make the sport special.


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