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Last Updated:  Saturday, 5 April, 2003, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Bingo boss counts winnings
By Sophie Brown
BBC Sport at Aintree

The Grand National has often been called a lottery, so how apt that it should be won by a horse belonging to a bingo club owner.

Monty's Pass has ensured his owner Mike Futter a place on the Grand National roll of honour but he has also brought him rich financial reward.

There had been a big gamble earlier in the week on another Irish horse, Youlneverwalkalone, but Futter has long been planning a betting coup of his own.

Barry Geraghty and Monty's Pass
Monty's Pass en route to victory
The 260,940 first prize money pales into significance in comparison to the 760,000 that Futter stands to make after backing the horse repeatedly from 40-1 downwards.

Futter was born in Blackpool but lives in Northern Ireland and the victory capped what has been a brilliant day for the Irish, who were claiming their third Grand National win in five years.

Irishman Ruby Walsh won the first three races, two of which were on horses trained in the Emerald Isle.

Monty's Pass was a first Grand National runner for both Futter and trainer Jimmy Mangan, who has 15 horses at his County Cork farm.

The victory also marked the first time jockey Barry Geraghty had got round in the race and caps a brilliant season for the Irish jockey.

Last month, he was crowned top jockey at Cheltenham with five winners, including victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

It had been billed as the most competitive National of all-time but many of the favourites disappointed on the day and failed to get round.

Coming into the final stages of the race, there were several Aintree fairytales in the making.

Most notably, Amberleigh House, trained by Red Rum's handler Ginger McCain, looked as if he could provide his master with a fourth win in the race.

And Gunner Welburn, trained by Andrew Balding, who is in his first season since taking over his father's licence, was also going well.

But in the end, the story was of an owner and trainer celebrating success in their first crack at the race.

But while one owner celebrated success in the world's most famous steeplechase at his first attempt, another had to endure the other side of the Grand National coin.

Trevor Hemmings has long yearned to win the Aintree showpiece and had three runners in this year's race.

Tragically, one of them, Goguenard, had to be put down after falling on the second circuit.

It was a cruel misfortune for Hemmings, whose The Last Fling suffered the same fate in last year's race.

Links to more Grand National 2003 stories


Winning owner Mike Futter
"It all went perfectly"

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