Fred Rimell: Grand National Legend

Fred Rimell is one of the most successful Grand National trainers in the history of the event, only Ginger McCain has achieved as many wins in the Grand National.

Many believe that Rimell’s success at the Grand National surpasses that of Ginger McCain as Rimell won each Grand National with a different horse, whereas Ginger McCain’s victories were largely founded on the performances of his Grand National legend Red Rum.

Fred Rimell is one of the few legendary Grand National trainers to have preceded his successful training career with a highly successful career as a jockey. Rimell won the National Hunt racing Champion Jockey title four times between 1939 and 1946. Rimell’s career as a jockey was cut short in 1947 when he suffered two falls that both resulted in a broken neck.

Deprived of his vocation and unable to carry on racing, Rimell turned his attention to training horses. Within four years Fred Rimell, Grand National legend, was back on the comeback trail and won the first of a succession of Champion Trainer titles. Only four years later Fred Rimell achieved his first success on National Hunt racing’s grandest stage in one of the most famous races in Grand National history.

At the final fence of the final lap, frontrunner Devon Loch inexplicably folded to the ground and refused to run any further, leaving the final stretch open for Rimell’s second placed ESB. ESB needed no further prompting and raced ahead to take the Grand National in front of a dumbstruck crowd.

Fred Rimell had to wait another five years for his next Grand National prize. In 1961 Rimell’s horse Nicolaus Silver became the first grey since Grand National legend The Lamb, and only the second in Grand National history, to win the race. Fred Rimell was also awarded his second Champion Trainer title that year.

Two more Grand National victories were to follow in the 1970’s. Gay Trip won the 1971 Grand National and in 1976 Rimell’s Rag Trade produced another moment of Grand National history by outrunning the legendary Red Rum on the flat to take the race. Once again Rimell was honoured with a Champion Trainer award for that season.

Fred Rimell, Grand Nationa legend, earned two more Champion Trainer titles as well as several other prestigious titles including the Welsh National before his death in 1981. Today the Rimell legacy is carried forward by Fred Rimell’s grandson Mark.