The Grand National is one of the finest steeplechases in the world, held at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool it has attracted the attention of the world for its grueling course and immense fences. Everybody has heard of the Grand National, from avid racing fans to grandmothers and everybody in between.
There have been many famous horses and jockeys that have gone down in history in the Grand National but none more so than Red Rum. From relatively anonymity Red Rum came to win this auspicious race no less than three times. It is a pure rag to riches story that captured the hearts of the British public like no other.
The Early Days
Red Rum was born in Ireland and not being too highly thought of as a foal he was passed around among several owners until eventually Noel Le Mar purchased him. Alongside Le Mar was the trainer Ginger McCain who was to play a big part in Red Rum’s future life. Unknown to anybody at the time was the fact that Red Rum had a bone disease in his foot, but McCain took the challenge up and continued training him. The horse used to run in the shallow waters of the Irish Sea at Southport to strengthen his weak foot.
Because of his diminutive size, Red Rum was only really raced on flat circuits, and to be truthful he was not exceptional at this. McCain tried the horse over jumps and was surprised at the raw talent the horse had for steeplechases. And in 1973, Red Rum took his first ever Grand National title, the following year against all the odds Rummy took the crown yet again. This was the first time that this was achieved since 1935 when a horse named Reynoldstown also did the double.
The Grand National
Red Rum competed the following two years but narrowly missed out on first place by coming second twice. Many people wrote Red Rum off at that stage saying that he was not capable of winning the Grand National as he was too old. However, in 1977 Ginger McCain thought he would give the horse one last chance, and Rummy stepped up to the plate. He won his third Grand National, and by an incredible twenty-five lengths ahead of the second placed horse.
To this day in racing circles this third victory is recognized as one of the greatest moments in horse racing history. And to add to the record two weeks after winning the third Grand National title he also won the Scottish Grand National, no other horse has ever achieved this consecutively. In 1978, McCain entered the horse once again for Aintree, but shortly before the race he suffered a fracture in a heel and that was the end of his career. The plucky little horse became the nation’s favorite and traveled up and down the country to lead parades and open various engagements.Whenever you mention the Grand National there is one horse that comes to everybody’s mind, and that is of course Red Rum.