Although he passed away in October 1995, Red Rum will always be a household name. Winner of three Grand Nationals, he was simply something special, and will always be remembered as one of the best racehorses to grace a track in Great Britain and Ireland. We’ve compiled a list of 15 amazing facts about the great horse, to test your knowledge and give you some trivia to use!
Fact 1 – He got his name from his parents
His sire? Quorum. His dam? Mared. Very clever.
Fact 2 – He was initially a sprinter
Red Rum’s early trainers and riders thought that Red Rum would be a sprinter, until he became the property of Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain, a trainer who dreamed of training a Grand National-winning horse.
Fact 3 – He helped his owner fulfil his three lifelong wishes
Construction businessman Noel Le Mare had three life goals: to become a millionaire, marry a beautiful girl and win the world’s greatest steeplechase. Reaching his twilight years, Le Mare had completed two of his aims but had given up on the third – until he met Ginger McCain.
The two picked up Red Rum, then an uninspiring sprinter with a bone problem, for 6,000 Guineas in August 1972 and less than a year later the 85-year old owner his lifelong dream.
Fact 4 – He made Ginger McCain a household name
One of the great charms of the Grand National is that it can make big names of previously-unknown trainers. That’s true of Ginger McCain, who was a second-hand car salesman before striking gold alongside Le Mare.
Fact 5 – He was healed by the Irish Sea
Well, sort of. In his early days, Red Rum suffered from pedolostisis, a debilitating bone disease that was thought to be incurable. However, McCain noticed that many working horses recovered from similar conditions when toiling on the soft Southport sands. So Red Rum was run frequently in the beach’s shallow waters and the problem vanished.
Fact 6 – He was ridden by Lee Mack
Not many know that TV funnyman Lee Mack used to be a stable boy, and even fewer know that Red Rum was the first horse that he ever rode.
Fact 7 – He had a special relationship with Aintree
Red Rum’s fondness for the big occasion in Liverpool is well acknowledged, but he actually made his debut at Aintree too, dead-heating in a five-furlong race.
Fact 8 – He won the Scottish National too
Red Rum was a big-race horse, no doubt about that, but he didn’t just win at the Grand National. In 1974 he followed success at Aintree with victory at the Scottish Grand National too. remaining the only horse to win both in one season.
Fact 9 – He won ‘the most famous race’ in 1973
Red Rum’s first Grand National in 1973 is widely considered to be one of the greatest, as well as one of the most impressive comebacks. At one point he was 30 lengths behind the Australian co-favourite Crisp and was 15 lengths back at the final fence. He and his jockey Brian Fletcher ran an astonishing final straight to win by three-quarters of a length, beating the track record by 19 seconds in the process; remarkable.
Fact 10 – He made history in 1977
And then in 1977, after wins in 1974 and second-places in 1975 and 1976, the 12-year old ‘Rummy’ became the only horse before or since to win the famous race for a third time. In 2002, this was voted by BBC viewers as the 22nd most iconic sporting moment of all time.
Fact 11 – He was more precious than ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish
In 1977, Liverpool paid £440,000 to Celtic for Kenny Dalglish. In the same summer, Japanese businessman ‘Rocky’ Aoki tried to buy Red Rum for $1m – significantly more than the Scottish striking sensation. Red Rum’s owner Noel le Mare turned the offer down.
Fact 12 – He had a special bond with his jockeys
At the 1977 BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony, Red Rum was ‘interviewed’ alongside Ginger McCain.
“He’s been listening to the applause at the back, and he thinks it’s for him all the time” said McCain. Red Rum pricked up his ears and stood to attention when he heard his best jockey Tommy Stack talking on a video link.
Fact 13 – He never fell
‘Rummy’ was famed for his huge leap and in 100 races he never fell to the ground; an astounding record.
Fact 14 – He made more in retirement than he ever did on grass
Red Rum won exactly £146,409.80 in prize money over his distinguished career, but it’s thought he made more than ten times that in public appearances and official openings. He even switched on the Blackpool lights.
Fact 15 – He was buried at Aintree
Red Rum was synonymous with the National and with Aintree, so it was fitting that when he died at the grand age of 30 that he was buried at the course’s winning post. A statue of Red Rum also stands at Aintree which encapsulates the famous horse’s super-confident, ambitious air.