Which horse was the shortest-priced winner of the Grand National?
In 2019, Tiger Roll was heavily backed for weeks ahead of his historic attempt to become the first horse since Red Rum to record back-to-back victories in the Grand National. Available at odds as short as 7/2 at one point, the nine-year-old was mooted as potentially the shortest-priced National winner in history. Of course, win the National he did, but was sent off at 4/1, so while he ‘inflicted the most expensive result in Grand National history’ he did not, in fact, become the shortest-priced winner of the celebrated steeplechase.
That distinction still belongs to the 1919 winner, Poethlyn, trained by Harry Escott and ridden by Ernie Piggott, grandfather of Lester. Poethlyn had already justified 5/1 favouritism when winning the so-called ‘War National’ – an unofficial substitute for the Grand National, run at Gatwick Racecourse – in 1918 and, back at Aintree the following year, was sent off at 11/4 to do so again. Shouldered with the welter burden of 12st 7lb, Poethlyn tracked the leaders for most of the way, but Piggott bided his time, making steady headway from Becher’s Brook on the second circuit to dispute the lead crossing the Melling Road near the Anchor Bridge. Poethlyn was soon ahead, clearly so by the second-last fence, and won, easily, by eight lengths.