The Venetia Williams-trained veteran Mon Mome has done particularly well in his two outings since returning from a long lay-off and the possibility of running in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the John Smith’s Grand National remain realistic for the highly popular old boy, writes Elliot Slater.

The 12-length 100/1 winner of the 2009 Aintree Grand National had been off the track since the 2010 renewal of the ‘world’s greatest steeplechase’, a race in which he was still very much in touch with the leaders and keeping the dream alive of being the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to win back-to-back renewals of the marathon, when taking a heavy fall at the fifth from home in the race eventually won by Don’t Push It. Those with BetVictor free bets will remember the race well.

Diagnosed with a leg injury shortly after, Mon Mome wasn’t seen again until finishing in mid-division in a Haydock novices hurdle in December, then ran a blinder on his first outing back over the larger obstacles since his Aintree fall when beating all bar Mostly Bob (received 16lbs) when carrying 11st 12lbs in the Raceodds Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, eventually going down with all guns blazing to an honourable four-and-a-half-length defeat. Those following Bwin will have been impressed.

The 12-year-old, third to Imperial Commander in the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup, could yet take his chance once again in the blue riband contest if the ground comes up soft and places stamina at a premium, but Williams will not make any decision on his participation until close to the day of the race when she will be pretty sure what sort of ground to expect. The John Smith’s Grand National also remains a target for owner Vida Bingham’s pride and joy and the horse could well be kept race fit by trying to exploit his maiden status over hurdles before heading back to Aintree, a race for which he is currently quoted at odds of 40/1 in the ante-post market.

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