HomeAllWho was Red Rum? The legendary horse of the Grand National

Who was Red Rum? The legendary horse of the Grand National

Aintree Racecourse, the home to one of the most iconic events in the world of horse racing in the form of the Grand National, has seen many champions grace its hallowed turf throughout its storied history.

2023 winner Corach Rambler is hoping to add his name to the record books as a rare dual winner of the prestigious race, as he’s the 9/2 favourite in the Grand National 2024 betting.

Yet, few have captured the imagination and adoration of the public quite like Red Rum. Renowned for his extraordinary feats in Merseyside, the legendary horse transcended the sport to become a household name and forever etched his name in the history books.

Foaled on May 3, 1965, at Rossenarra Stud in County Kilkenny, Ireland, Red Rum’s journey to greatness was far from conventional. He started his racing career as a sprinter, competing in low-value races before ultimately being sold to Noel le Mare for a modest 6,000 Guineas.

Little did anyone know at the time that this unassuming chestnut gelding would go on to achieve unparalleled success and cement his place as one of the greatest National Hunt racing horses of all time.

Red Rum’s rise to prominence began under the expert guidance of Ginger McCain, a trainer whose name would become synonymous with the legendary horse. It was McCain who recognised Red Rum’s potential and meticulously prepared him for the challenge ahead.

Despite facing setbacks in his early career due to a pedal bone injury, Red Rum displayed resilience and determination — qualities that would define his illustrious racing career.

The pinnacle of Red Rum’s career came in the 1970s as he dominated the Grand National three times in that era.

His first victory in the race came in 1973, a triumph that would mark the beginning of a remarkable legacy. Ridden by jockey Brian Fletcher, Red Rum stormed to victory — beating Australian Crisp to set a new record time of nine minutes, 1.9 seconds.

Red Rum defended his title in 1974. Carrying a hefty 12 stone on his back, Red Rum was priced at 11/1. However, while the additional weight certainly slowed the horse down, it wasn’t enough to stop Red Rum from winning the Grand National in a time of nine minutes and 20.3 seconds.

Red Rum’s most memorable victory came three years later in 1977 when, at the ripe age of 12, he defied the Aintree game odds to secure an unprecedented third triumph in the race — a feat that is yet to be matched.

What sets Red Rum apart from almost every other horse in Grand National history is not just his record three wins, but the fact he competed in the prestigious race five years in succession and finished in the top three on each occasion.

Additionally, Red Rum’s success extended beyond the racecourse — capturing the hearts of the nation and transcending the world of sport. No horse before him or thoroughbred since has had such an impact.

His endearing personality and incredible spirit endeared him to millions, earning him a place as a cultural icon. From appearing on television shows to making public appearances, Red Rum’s influence reached far beyond the confines of horse racing.

Following his retirement from racing in 1978, Red Rum continued to enjoy a well-deserved retirement at McCain’s Southport stables. He sadly passed away in 1995 at the grand age of 30, but his legacy endures to this day.

A statue erected in his honour stands proudly at Aintree Racecourse while his ashes were buried at the winning post, both serving as a permanent tribute to his greatness and the lasting mark he left on the sport.

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