The 2003 Grand National is widely considered one of the best field of runners to grace the Aintree course. So the 12 lengths win by Monty’s Pass is rightly regarded as one of the strongest displays by a winner in the last 20 years.
Monty’s Pass was never out for the leading pack for the entire race and jumped superbly with top jockey Barry Geraghty on board. As many horses do Monty’s Pass started his career running in Point-to-Point races. In 2002 the horse started to show the signs of a quality chaser when he finished fifth in the Mildmay of Flete at Cheltenham and also finished second in the Topham Chase at the Aintree course.
In September 2002 the horse was entered into the Kerry National, a three miler at Listowel. The horses owner Mike Futter reportedly landed a £200,000 bet on when Monty’s Pass steamed to victory. Seeing the quality of the horses jumping the owner and trainer decided to point the horse at the 2003 Grand National.
In what has become the usual practice for strong Irish contenders the horse was lightly race around hurdles for the remainder of the year in Ireland before being rested over the winter months. This gave the horse the best possible chance of getting a favourable weight by the National handicapper. Which he did when awarded just 10-7.
The only doubt about Monty’s Pass was this ability to win over three miles. The trainer and stable were proved right when they stated that the horse would have no problem over the four mile plus Aintree course. On the day of the race the ground firmed up some and this suited Monty. With two fences left, Monty’s Pass went clear from Amberleigh House and a tiring Gunner Welburn.
Monty’s Pass safely cleared the last and powered home, while Supreme Glory made a surging run behind to overhaul two horses to get up for second.