Red Rum: Grand National Legend

Early Years

Red Rum was foaled in Ireland in 1965. Although both of Red Rum’s parents were thoroughbred the best that was hoped for him was that he might evolve into a decent flat racing horse. Like many great racehorses, he was initially considered to be an unremarkable runner.

It was Ginger McCain who first recognised the bay’s potential at the Scottish Grand National in 1972. By the time McCain began training Red Rum the horse had become afflicted with pedalostitis, a supposedly incurable bone disease that tended to leave horses lame.

Thinking the horse was lame McCain turned Red Rum loose on the beaches of Southport. Miraculously Red Rum emerged from his first foray into the surf with all symptoms of lameness gone.

At The Races

Between 1976 and 1968 Red Rum raced in flat races with mixed success. In his very first race he finished in a dead heat with his stable-mate Curlicue. He then recorded two victories and four Top Four finishes, putting in the moderate performances that had been expected of him.

Red Rum’s National Hunt career began in 1968 and started well enough, with the horse recording three victories. After a winless season in the 1969/1970 Red Rum made something of a comeback, winning a total of four races.

It was during this period that Ginger McCain first spotted Red Rum and convinced one of his clients to buy the horse. Once Red Rum had been cured by the water of the Southport beaches, he excelled in the 1972/1973 season, participating in nine races and winning six, including his first Grand National at Odds of 9/1.

From then on Red Rum, Grand National Legend, was virtually unstoppable, winning the event again in 1974 as one of six wins that season. The 1974/1975 season was less successful – Red Rum’s form dipped and he achieved only two wins. In the 1975/1976 season the bay went without a single win, and many thought hiscareer was over.

Red Rum saved the best for last. Running under top weight, the horse paid McCain for his careful planning that season by putting in a display of almost perfect jumping, and won the Grand National for a record 3rd time by 25 lengths.

Red Rum, Grand National legend, passed away at the ripe old age of 30, and is buried near the finishing post at Aintree.