‘He got away the day he won the Grand National’ – Monty’s Pass dead aged 29 | Horse racing news

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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The Great National Hero Monty's Pass with Jimmy and Mary Mangan

The Great National Hero Monty’s Pass with Jimmy and Mary Mangan

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

By David Jennings, Deputy Editor for Ireland

The great national hero of 2003, Monty’s Pass, died just months short of his 30th birthday, with Barry Geraghty hailing him a wonderful horse in every sense of the word.

Until his death, Monty’s Pass was the oldest living Grand National winner at the age of 29 and was cared for until his last breath by Jimmy and Mary Mangan. He was part of their family in the Cork village of Conna.

Jimmy told the Racing Post: “He was a great age and lived a long and happy life. It took us all over Ireland and England, days we will never forget.

“Even now, everyone I meet around Fermoy or in the town would mention him all these years later. Everyone in the place seemed to support him the day he won the National. They said they didn’t never seen such a queue outside Paddy Power’s. Some of them had to wait days to get paid because they didn’t have enough cash to pay them!”

“He absolutely went wild the day he won the Grand National. He returned the following year and finished fourth. I asked Barry afterwards if the weight got the better of him and he said “no, they overwatered the ground”. there was still a cracker going and we were excited about it.”

Mangan said Monty’s Pass also had a unique personality and never strayed from his evening routine.

He said: “He was an incredible character. Every night, whether it was summer or winter, he came to the gate and sought to be put into his stable. He has never spent a single night outside in his life.

“He was like the godfather to all the young foals that came into the yard. They always flocked around him in the fields. He was such a brilliant character to have around. He will be sorely missed, but he was a great age.”

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

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Barry Geraghty celebrates winning the 2003 Grand National on Monty's Pass

Barry Geraghty celebrates winning the 2003 Grand National on Monty’s Pass

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

Monty’s Pass won eight of his 57 races and was placed on no fewer than 23 other occasions. He won the Kerry National at Listowel in 2002 under Geraghty, but their finest day together came the following year when the pair ran out one of the most impressive Grand National winners of this century.

The subject of a significant drop from odds of 66-1 in January into a 16-1 SP, Monty’s Pass went home a dozen lengths under Geraghty, who could afford to celebrate away from the line.

“It was magical for me,” Geraghty said while working for RTE in Navan on Sunday.

“I rode it for the first time when I was 21. I took it from JT [McNamara] and he was just an amazing horse, gorgeous in every sense of the word. He got better with every run. I loved riding him, I loved riding for Jimmy [Mangan] and he enjoyed riding for the union [Dee Racing] who mastered it. They were a brilliant bunch of owners.

“He really was such a wonderful horse, so smart and so agile. He was also so honest. You would never know he had a heart condition or that there was a problem with him when you rode him. He was an absolute star. “

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

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Monty's Pass and Barry Geraghty are free as they land over Valentine's on the second circuit of the 2003 Grand National

Monty’s Pass and Barry Geraghty are free as they land over Valentine’s on the second circuit of the 2003 Grand National

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

Recalling his famous Aintree triumph 19 years ago, Geraghty added: “He jumped 90 fences around Aintree and all he did was one little mistake, that was it. crowd. I almost ran out of holidays before the line, I had it in the bag so early.”

Jimmy Mangan’s daughter Jane, now a hugely popular pundit on RTE and Racing TV, said of her family’s most treasured thoroughbred: “The day was always going to come, it was always going to be sad, but rather than being sad, we are grateful to have had him and to prove that fairy tales do come true for ordinary people.”

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