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2009 hero Mon Mome misses Grand National

The hopes of the many fans of the enigmatic Mon Mome that he might come back and win a second John Smith's Grand National have been dashed with the news that the popular 11-year-old will miss the great race having suffered a training setback, writes Elliot Slater

The Venetia Williams-trained gelding sprung probably the biggest surprise of the modern era when galloping to a 100/1 success in the 2009 renewal, proving 12-lengths too good for previous winner Comply Or Die. The winner of nearly three-quarters of a million pounds in career prize money went on to prove his Aintree success had been no fluke when he put up an arguably even better effort to finish third in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup behind Imperial Commander and Denman, proving that he was anything but a one-hit wonder. If he had entered again this year, he would have no doubt attracted plenty of Grand National free bets.

The plan had been to keep Mon Mome fresh for his latest bid on the Aintree marathon, the French bred having not been seen since falling at the fifth fence from home in last year's Grand National when still going well on the heels of the leading group. Williams explained that they had intended to give her star chaser an outing at Cheltenham recently, but he met with a minor setback. With entries for the race having to be received by February 2nd, she and the horse's owner Vida Bingham felt it might prove too much of a rush to prepare him for Aintree and have decided instead to give him a break again and look to bring him back for one last try in 2012

Following the first entry stage Donald McCain's Ballabriggs is a general 16/1 favourite. Last year's winner Don't Push It, Big Fella Thanks and Niche Market are all available at 20/1, and it's 25/1 bar.

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