The 2003 Grand National was the 156th occurence of this prestigious race and took place at Aintree on 3:45 British Summer Time, on the 5th of April, 2003. The 10-year-old 16/1 shot Monty’s Pass was ably captained by none other than respected rider Barry Geraghty.
The unforgiving Monty’s Pass took apart the other 40 racers to clinch the Grand National crown within a terrific time of 9 minutes and 21 seconds. The impressive winner had been trained by Jimmy Mangan of Cork, Ireland.
Covering a course that stretched 4 miles and 4 furlongs, the event saw only 14 of the participating 40 jockeys cross the finishing line. Unlike the previous year when two horses succumbed to this punishing race, in 2003 one fatality was recorded. Still anything other than zero is of course a tragedy. Although the number of successful finishers decreased slightly set against 2002, the fact that Monty’s Pass ran the course in such a fast time, but this a thrilling event.
Many horses favoured before the race only succeeded in disappointing. Shotgun Willy had been a popular favorite after winning the Red Square Vodka Cup at Haydock that same year. Going off as the 7/1 likely, or rather favoured, victor, the horse paled in comparison to some less favoured competitors and tailed off midway through the race. Youllneverwalkalone, a fan of many liverpudlians for obvious reasons, had previously emboldened many fans hopes of success before finally yielding at the 11th fence as a result of injury.
Second place went to the determined Leighton Aspell mounting Supreme Glory, while Amberleigh House handed Graham Lee third slot.
2002 saw the 155th official staging of the annual Grand National event. Held on 6th April at Aintree near Liverpool, the race was won by the 20/1 shot Bindaree, mounted by Jim Culloty. Bindaree had been trained by Nigel Twiston-Davis at the Grange Hill facility in Naunton.
The winning time stood at exactly 10 minutes and 3 seconds, a marked improvement from over 11 minutes registered by the previous year’s winner. The 2002 Grand National race had a rather diminished field that only accommodated a maximum of 40 runners. This was due to the number of injuries received in previous years.
Of the 40 competitors who took part in the 2002 Grand National, only 11 completed the course. Although this was still a disappointing low, it was at least an improvement on previous years, so a step in the right direction. A total of 9 horses fell at the very first fence while 2 fatalities took place during the race, The Last Fling at the 2nd Canal Turn and the ill-fated Manx Magic at the twentieth fence.
BBC One broadcast the electrifying race, with a viewership of close to 9 million, with only 300,000 watching on ITV.
Other top contenders included the prized Ad Hoc steered by Paul Carberry, the 1999 titleholder cheered on by thousands. However it couldn’t quite achieve its former glory. Both the promising Supreme Glory and the long-time favorite Moor Lane puled out prior to the race.
From first to fifth spot, witht he horses and jokeys riding them: Bindaree/Jim Culloty, What’s Up Boys/Richard Johnson, Blowing Wind/ Tony McCoy, Kingsmark/ Ruby Walsh, Supreme Charm/Robert Thornton. As evidenced in this finishing top five there is a certain absence of many high-flying riders. Nonetheless, this made for an interesting national, and again it was a relief that not so many injuries occured this time around.