Red Rum: The Life of a Grand National Winner

Red Rum
It's a race that captures the attention of the world. 

The Grand National 2018 - April 14th, 2018, 5:15pm. The greatest National Hunt Steeplechase. 

Four and a half miles. Thirty jumps. Two circuits of blood, sweat, tears, sometimes sadness and joy. 

The history of this race details the ultimate three-time winner Red Rum who triumphed over adversity. His trainer, Ginger McCain, nurtured his favourite horse to prove that with love, care, hope and joy anything is possible. 

From galloping at Southport beach to winning the Grand National

Victorious in 1973, 1974 & 1977. 

Over the years, the Grand National has been a medium for many remarkable stories.

Here is a brief biography of the horse synonymous with the Grand National.

Red Rum

A champion thoroughbred steeplechaser. Grand National winner 1973, 1974 & 1977. Scottish Grand National victory in 1974. 

Like so many champions, Red Rum came from humble beginnings. 

This Irish-bred bay gelding was sired by Quorum out of a mare called Mared. Foaled 3rd May 1965 at Rosennara Stud in Kells, County Kilkenny. His breeder, Martyn McEnery, gave Red Rum his name (the last three letters of the mare and first three of the sire). 

A horse bred to win over one mile, few would have guessed in those early years, that he would be a champion over four and a half miles. 

Many readers may not realise that Red Rum started his racing career on the Flat. He dead-heated in his first race over 5f at Aintree, which then held Flat racing fixture whereas today it is National Hunt. 

He ran eight times at two. A juvenile winner over 7f at Warwick alongside his victory at Aintree, and Doncaster at three in one of two races that season. 

Did you know? He was twice ridden by Lester Piggott and his stable lad was none other than comedian Lee Mack!

However, for all his early achievements, the best was yet to come when purchased by Ginger McCain for his new owner Noel le Mare for 6000 guineas. Two days later Red Rum was found to be lame. However, this didn't cut short the determination of man nor horse. McCain remembered seeing how sea-water helped rejuvenate old carthorses. This daily gallop helped Red Rum to be fit and ready for the greatest test of his life: The Grand National. 

In many ways, the rest is history. 

In 1973 he made his debut in the National beating the outstanding Australian chaser, Crisp who carried 23 pounds more. In truth, Crisp was one of the most astounding chasers in history. After being 30 lengths clear at the last fence, he tired and Red Rum won in a remarkable race. 

Red Rum retained his title in 1974. A year which saw him win the Scottish Grand National. The only horse to win both National in the same year!

1975 & 1976 saw him finish runner-up.  


The following year, Red Rum, now twelve, won for a remarkable third time. A historic moment never matched. 

While being prepared for his sixth National, he suffered a hairline fracture the day before the big day and retired. 

This equine celebrity didn't let the grass grow under his feet annually leading the Grand National parade. He opened supermarkets, adorned all manner of merchandising. 

Red Rum passed away on 18th October 1995 aged 30. His death made headline news across the world. 

Red Rum was buried at the finishing post of his beloved Aintree. The place of his first and last win. 

A three-time Champion of the Grand National. 

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