The greatest horse in National history

Racing Ahead
Racing Ahead

Fresh from advising the winner of the Irish Grand National, Rogue Angel at 33/1, racing pundit Tony McCormick from recalls ‘the greatest National horse’.

Red Rum is the only horse in the history of the Grand National to win the race three times and on the two occasions that he ran and did not win, he came second.

When he was put up for sale in his country of birth, both he and his companion that day, were sold for 400 guineas at the sales in Dublin.

It is a great coincidence that the first race that Red Rum raced in was at what was to become his favourite course in Liverpool.

On this first occasion, he dead-headed with Curlicue for first place, in a two-year-old seller.

Curlicue was the companion horse that he was with at the sales.

In Red Rum’s 10-year career he had 24 different jockeys, including Lester Piggott.

He also had five trainers but in that career he managed to win three flat races, three hurdle races and 21 steeplechases.

His obvious love of racing held him in good stead and it is worth saying that he never actually fell in a race, although he once unseated his rider and once slipped up.

Red Rum suffered from foot problems and soon after Ginger McCain got the horse he looked lame, however when he ran into the sea on a training gallop this seemed to help and it was the routine that Ginger kept him on.

The year of Rummie’s first win was 1973, where he beat the big Australian horse Crisp.

Rummy was 20 lengths or more adrift for most of the race and it was only his determination that kept him in the game and allowed him to win his first National, as the game Crisp tired in the closing stages.

Twelve months later it was Red Rum who was carrying the 12st burden and despite that, he went on to win successive nationals and the public started a love affair with this chaser the like of which has never being surpassed.

In both 1975 and 1976 despite putting up a good defence of his crown, Rummie was beaten on both occasions into second place.

By 1977 Red Rum was 12-years-old and was again entered in the great race.

His season by now was mapped out to give him the best chance in the National.

Not many 12-year-olds win the race and some of the racing pundits thought that this might have been a case of going to the well once too often.

He was still having to carry top weight this year but at least the top weight had gone down to 11st 8lbs.

Rummie actually had no problems and ran easily throughout the race, winning by a remarkable 25 lengths.

Dessie, Kauto and Frankel, all popular, all legends of the turf, but not one horse will ever capture the nation’s hearts like the little battler from Southport, Red Rum.