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Red Rum

Written by Lauren Mitchell

Born on 3rd May, 1965 at Rossenarra Stud, the bay yearling was bred to be a sprinter by Martyn McEnery. He was then sold to Champion Hurdle winning jockey, Tim Moloney, for a mere 400 guineas (1 guinea = £1.05). He was then sold on again to Lurline Brotherton.

The man most famously associated with the legend of Red Rum, was Donald ''Ginger'' McCain. McCain first saw Red Rum as a two year old in 1967. In his 5f debut at Aintree, the track he would famously be remembered with, ''Rummy'' came in with a dead heat. McCain, the part time car dealer and taxi driver would next see Red Rum, ridden by Lestor Piggot, losing by a head in the Earl Of Sefton Handicap Stakes to Alan's Pet.

A few years later, Brotherton was troubled by the increasingly high vet bills for Rummy. Red Rum was suffering with 'pedalostitis', a bone disease thought to be incurable. Brotherton decided to sell the future Grand National winner and he was entered into the Doncaster August Sale of 1972...a mere eight months before he started to show his worth. It was here that ''Ginger'' McCain finally had the opportunity to purchase the gelding he had been admiring for the past five years. Red Rum, now a seven year old, was bought for 6,000 guineas on behalf of Noel le Mare and transfered to McCain's yard at Upper Aughton Road, Mersyside. It is a simple twist of fate that this horse, who had for his lifetime been troubled with lameness and foot problems, should go to the only trainer who ran his horses on the beach.

McCain started Rummy off by walking and trotting in the tide. Amazingly, the salt water seemed to help and soon he was galloping regularly on the soft sands of Southport Beach. Not long after this, Red Rum became a household name.

From 1973 to 1977, Red Rum ran in five consecutive Grand Nationals. Riding him to victory in the 1973 and 1974 Nationals was Brian Fletcher. The following Grand National of 1975 was fraught with animosty after McCain accused Fletcher of ''holding him back'' and causing Red Rum to come in second to L'Escargot. Red Rum was jockeyed by Tommy Stack in his fourth Grand National apperance but unfortunately narrowly missed out again, coming second to Rag Trade. His 1977 victory was a perfect, though not planned, high to go out on. The evening before the 1978 running of the National, Red Rum's sixth, he was declared a non-runner after coming up lame. It was later discovered that he had sustained a hairline fracture and never raced again.

However this was not the last we saw of the gallant bay. Red Rum was now a celebrity opening supermarkets, malls and anually leading the Grand National Parade at Aintree. Sadly on October 18th, 1995, Red Rum the three time Grand National winner, passed away. His body now rests in the shadow of the winning post at Aintree, a very apt tribute. The epitaph on his grave reads:

'' Respect this place,
This hallowed ground,
A legend here,
His rest has found.
His feet would fly,
Our spirits soar,
He earned our love,
Forever more.''

Red Rum Facts:
Sire: Quorum
Dam: Mared
Colour: Bay
Markings: none
He was born in County Kildare, Ireland and then moven to Mersyside, Northern England when bought as a 7 year old.
Honours: has a lifesize statue at Aintree Racecourse.
Other acheivements: Also won the Scottish National in 1974