Legends of the sport: Monsanta — ‘whether it was Hickstead, Calgary or Dublin, he never let you down’ *H&H Plus*

  • The treble Hickstead Derby winner only began his partnership with Michael Whitaker as a teenager. Jennifer Donald charts the stocky gelding’s illustrious achievements and will to win

    An all-star cast of horses has taken centre stage for Michael Whitaker during his four decades in the saddle, but one stands out for his longevity, consistency and magnificent conquests around the globe – Monsanta.

    The stocky, Irish-bred “Monty” had a distinctive air about him with his trademark sheepskin noseband and unusually high head carriage. He could be sharp, but appreciated Michael’s quiet approach in the saddle and, driven by the Yorkshireman’s steely will to win, he tried his heart out at every obstacle.

    The 13-year-old gelding was already a young rider European gold medallist and Queen’s Cup winner when Michael took over the reins, but the remarkable pair went on to land the Hickstead Derby three times in succession, plus four championship medals and some of the richest grands prix in the world. All this and he never suffered a day’s lameness in his life.

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