2003 Grand National

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2003 Grand National
Grand National
Owner Dee Racing Syndicate.svg
Location Aintree Racecourse
Date 5 April 2003
Winning horse Monty's Pass
Jockey Barry Geraghty
Trainer Jimmy Mangan
Owner Dee Racing Syndicate
Conditions Good
← 2002
2004 →
External video
Replay of the 2003 Grand National in full Racing UK, YouTube

The 2003 Grand National (known as the Martell Grand National for sponsorship reasons) was the 156th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree at 3:45pm BST, on 5 April 2003.

The ten-year-old 16/1 shot Monty's Pass, ridden by Barry Geraghty and trained by Jimmy Mangan in Cork, Ireland, won the race by 12 lengths from the 2001 Welsh National winner Supreme Glory (40/1) in a time of 9 minutes 21.7 seconds.[1]

The field was limited to a maximum of 40 competitors, and 14 completed the 4 mile 4 furlong course.

Leading contenders[edit]

Shotgun Willy became the favourite for the race after winning the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup at Haydock on 1 March and remained the most popular entrant with the public, going off as the 7/1 clear favourite, ridden by Ruby Walsh who had previously won the race in 2000. Shotgun Willy was always towards the rear of the field and began to lose touch with the leaders early on the second circuit, pulling up after making a mistake at the 21st fence.

Youllneverwalkalone won the Leopardstown Chase in January and then the William Hill Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in March and was sent off as the 8/1 joint-second favourite in partnership with rider Conor O'Dwyer. The horse was naturally popular with punters on the Liverpool course due to links with Liverpool Football Club whose anthem is the song of the same name, however the horse was at the back of the field when he suffered a leg injury at the 11th fence and was instantly pulled up. He was found to have broken a leg and, although he recovered, was never raced again.[2]

Iris Bleu had fallen in the 2002 National but had won the Thomas Pink Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in December and the Agfa Diamond Chase at Sandown in January to be backed to 8/1 on race day. Ridden by champion jockey Tony McCoy, Iris Bleu made a series of mistakes and was pulled up lame before taking the water jump at the end of the first circuit.

Ad Hoc had been travelling well when brought down in the 2002 race, and was partnered by 1999 winning jockey Paul Carberry; the pair went off at a price of 9/1 and almost fell at the first fence. Having recovered, they were making progress when Carberry was unseated at the 19th.

Chives had run prominently in several major races, including finishing second in the 2002 Welsh National and seventh in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and was sent off at 10/1 in company with 1998 winning rider Richard Guest but also disappointed with mistakes before suffering injury at the 11th fence where he was pulled up.

At 16/1, Monty's Pass was considered among the good each-way chances for the race and had been backed heavily on race day from 40/1 the day before after being tipped by several leading tipsters. Among those who predicted his victory were John Francome in The Sun, Eddie Freemantle in The Observer, Marten Julian in The Sunday Telegraph and Thunderer in The Times while Pricewise in the Racing Post tipped the horse to win two months before the race.[3]

Finishing order[edit]

Position Number Name Rider Age Weight (st, lb) Starting price Distance
1st 19 Monty's Pass Barry Geraghty 10 10-7 16/1 Won by 12 lengths
2nd 32 Supreme Glory Leighton Aspell 10 10-2 40/1 2 lengths
3rd 21 Amberleigh House Graham Lee 11 10-4 33/1 14 lengths
4th 30 Gunner Welburn Barry Fenton 11 10-2 16/1 11 lengths
5th 23 Montifault Joe Tizzard 8 10-4 33/1 1 length
6th 11 Bindaree Carl Llewellyn 9 10-11 25/1 18 lengths
7th 10 Carberry Cross Liam Cooper 9 10-12 25/1 6 lengths
8th 14 Blowing Wind Tom Scudamore 10 10-9 20/1 7 lengths
9th 33 Tremallt Jason Maguire 12 10-2 200/1 7 lengths
10th 1 Behrajan Richard Johnson 8 11-12 22/1 9 lengths
11th 35 Djeddah Thiery Doumen 12 10-1 66/1 8 lengths
12th 20 Majed Rodi Greene 7 10-5 200/1 A distance
13th 31 Royal Predica Jamie Moore 9 10-2 33/1 26 lengths
14th 18 Southern Star Dominic Elsworth 8 10-8 66/1 Last to complete

Non-finishers[edit]

Fence Number Name Rider Age Weight (st, lb) Starting price Fate
26th 25 Cregg House David Casey 8 10-3 50/1 Tailed off, refused
17 Red Striker Larry McGrath 9 10-8 50/1 Unseated rider
28 Torduff Express Timmy Murphy 12 10-3 33/1 Unseated rider
25th (Valentine's) 27 Mantle's Prince Ollie McPhail 9 10-3 200/1 Unseated rider
37 Red Ark Kenny Johnson 10 10-0 100/1 Pulled up
24th (Canal Turn) 3 Gingembre Andrew Thornton 9 11-9 14/1 Tailed off, pulled up
22nd (Becher's Brook) 40 Empereur River Mr. Patrick Paihes 10 10-2 250/1 Tailed off, pulled up
4 Shotgun Willy Ruby Walsh 9 11-9 7/1 F Tailed off, pulled up
36 Burlu Gerry Supple 9 10-0 200/1 Fell
39 Killusty Tony Dobbin 9 10-4 12/1 Fell
19th (open ditch) 26 Good Shuil Noel Fehily 8 10-3 200/1 Tailed off, pulled up
29 Goguenard Warren Marston 9 10-2 28/1 Unseated rider
38 Robbo Alan Dempsey 9 10-1 100/1 Hampered by fallen horses, unseated rider
8 Ad Hoc Paul Carberry 9 11-1 9/1 Unseated rider
22 Maximize Jim Culloty 9 10-4 16/1 Fell
15 You're Agoodun Robert Thornton 11 10-9 50/1 Hampered, unseated rider
16th (water jump) 7 Iris Bleu Tony McCoy 7 11-3 8/1 Pulled up
15th (The Chair) 16 Katarino Mick Fitzgerald 8 10-8 50/1 Unseated rider
9 Ballinclay King Davy Russell 9 10-12 50/1 Pulled up
13th 12 Youllneverwalkalone Conor O'Dwyer 9 10-11 8/1 Pulled up
12th (open ditch) 6 Chives Richard Guest 8 11-5 10/1 Pulled up
8th (Canal Turn) 24 Polar Champ Daniel Howard 10 10-4 200/1 Unseated rider
6th (Becher's Brook) 5 Fadalko Seamus Durack 10 11-7 100/1 Unseated rider
3rd (open ditch) 34 Wonder Weasel John McNamara 10 10-5 50/1 Fell
2nd 2 Bramblehill Duke Brian Crowley 11 10-2 200/1 Fell
1st 13 The Bunny Boiler John Cullen 9 10-10 50/1 Unseated rider

Aftermath[edit]

Winner Monty's Pass claimed a prize of £348,000, with £132,000 awarded to Supreme Glory in second, £66,000 for Amberleigh House in third, £30,000 for Gunner Welburn in fourth, £15,000 for Montifault in fifth, and £9,000 for sixth-placed Bindaree.

Some bookmakers offered stakes refunds to customers who backed the first fence faller The Bunny Boiler. William Hill reported that they had to pay out £400,000 on two winning bets alone, claiming it was their worst hit in Grand National history.[4]

In post-race interviews, winning trainer Jimmy Mangan said: "It's a thing you dream about. To have a winner is unreal." Jockey Barry Geraghty said of his ride: "He was like a cat. He jumped unbelieveable."[4]

Both the vets and the doctors were busy after the race. Goguenard had to be euthanised when he was caught in a melee at the 19th fence. Youllneverwalkalone was taken to the Liverpool horse hospital when it was found he had broken a leg in running. The injury was repaired and the horse retired from racing. Iris Bleu pulled up lame, while Ballinclay King and Chives both broke blood vessels. All three horses made a full recovery. Four riders also required hospital treatment after the race. Gerry Supple suffered a broken leg, Alan Dempsey a broken wrist, Alan Crowley a broken collarbone and Timmy Murphy suffered concussion and a broken nose.[4]

Coverage[edit]

The BBC retained the rights to broadcast the race on television and radio for the 44th consecutive year, in accordance with the Ofcom Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events. The race was broadcast as a Grand National special edition of the regular Saturday television show Grandstand, and involved three hours of build-up to the race through features on the principal contestants and the history of the race. The race itself was broadcast live and was followed by a detailed re-run using slow motion footage and additional camera angles not used in the original broadcast.

The show was presented by Clare Balding and Sue Barker while the commentary team was John Hanmer, Tony O'Heir and Jim McGrath who called the winner home for the sixth year. It was the last time that Hanmer commentated on a Grand National, having covered the portion from the Melling Road to the fourth and from the Canal Turn to the Anchor Bridge crossing for thirty years.

In total 52 cameras were used to cover the event including three cameras placed inside jockeys' caps and four inside selected fences. Former Grand National riders Richard Pitman and Peter Scudamore also talked the viewers through an in-depth re-run of the race in slow motion.

In a new innovation the BBC introduced interactive services, which enabled UK viewers to access features such as a statistical predictor, archive footage of previous Nationals and a split-screen view of the race itself to enable viewers to watch the race from the air as well as the normal tracking cameras.[5]

Racing UK broadcast the race live into bookmakers' outlets throughout the country, though its camera angles were limited in comparison to the close-up coverage provided to BBC viewers.

BBC Radio also broadcast commentary of the race live for the 71st time on its Sport on Five programme, presented by Mark Pougatch and with Lee McKenzie calling the runners home. Also among the commentary team was Ian Bartlett, who was to replace John Hanmer in the television commentary team the next year.

Jockeys[edit]

Two-time winner Carl Llewellyn was the most experienced rider in the race, weighing out for a Grand National for the thirteenth time, while eleven riders made their debut. Leighton Aspell fared best of those, finishing second, with Graham Lee finishing third while Liam Cooper, Jamie Moore and Dominic Elsworth also completed the course. John Cullen's debut ended at the first fence while Daniel Howard, Davy Russell, Alan Dempsey, Patrick Paihes and Larry McGrath also failed to get round.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Full 2003 Grand National result". Racing Post. Racing Post. 5 April 2003. Retrieved 5 April 2003. 
  2. ^ Scientists reveal secrets of Grand National success The Guardian, 25 March 2004
  3. ^ What the tipsters said BBC Sport, 1 April 2003
  4. ^ a b c Monty's Pass wins Grand National BBC Sport, 5 April 2003
  5. ^ National goes interactive BBC Sport, 2 April 2003