Triple Grand National Winner Red Rum

Foaled: 3rd May 1965, by Quorum and out off a mare called Mared, on Rossenarra Stud near Kells in County Kilkenny, a Bay colt had begun his life. Little did the people involved know that struggling to stay on his feet in front off them was the future King of Aintree. We can thank a quiet-spoken, pensive Irish man, for this. Martyn J McEnery received no reward either directly or indirectly for what was about to unfold over the next few years.

Red Rum's first race (left) was a 5 furlong seller, for two year olds at Aintree in 1967 in which he dead-heated with a filly called Curlicue, for first place and was duly sold for 300 guineas. After nine more flat races and four seasons of National Hunt racing consisting of twenty four races over hurdles and thirteen over the bigger obstacles Red Rum's form began to go down hill and he was sent to Doncaster Sales. As Red Rum won his first ever race in 1967, Ginger McCain had just got his full training license and had a small cobbled yard in a town called Southport. The nearest place to exercise any horse let alone a Grand National winner was on the beach, in the sea and climbing up and down the sandhills.

So at Doncaster Sales in 1972 a fairy tale started to unfold. Ginger won the highest bid and paid 6000 guineas for the bay gelding, and took him back to Southport to meet up with his new owner Mr Noel LeMare. Two days after he arrived in Southport, Red Rum went on to the beach, and to everybody's horror the horse was lame. He was sent into the sea for a good half hour and by some miracle he came out of the sea sound. The vet diagnosed Pedal-Osteitits in the off-fore. Ginger had seen many broken - down carthorses rejuvenated by the Southport sands and waters - they did the trick for Red Rum too.

September 30th 1972 saw Red Rum reappear on the British racecourse at Carlisle in the Windermere Handicap Chase ridden by Tommy Stack for his new trainer and owner in the colours that would be made famous in the next few years. Red Rum won a record three Grand Nationals and finished second twice, as well as winning eighteen other races over jumps, and two on the flat. He was retired in 1978, the day before the Grand National, aged thirteen, due to a stress fracture of a small bone in his foot.

The Statue at Aintree Racecourse captures the essence of Red Rum's, cocky stance; ears pricked, and eyes/head skywards. When Red Rum was twenty-one he developed a blocked artery in his hind leg and was retired completely from being ridden. He was put onto Warfarin and continued his public relations visits, being led instead of being ridden. Red Rum's final appearance was at Aintree on the 3rd May 1995 at his own 30th birthday party, which was well celebrated by the people that knew this great horse.

On the 18th October 1995 Red Rum suffered a stroke and sadly Ginger had no other option but to have the horse put down hours later Red Rum had been buried in his rightful place, at Aintree's winning post.

The strange thing is that on the day that Red died I went off on my first holiday abroad and didn't find out until the following day, while looking for the Red Rum Bar in Bugibba, Malta. I couldn't quite believe it when we asked for directions and the guy said that Red Rum was dead. I told him that it wasn't true but he showed us the paper and sure enough there it was in black and white.

I am very honoured to have been part of this horse's life, as I looked after him for a few of those years. He may have been retired at the time but we had lots of good times going to different places and meeting people, and also visiting friends and family, while out on our daily exercise. Red Rum was a lot of fun to look after and to ride. He was always playing around bucking and kicking and even throwing in the odd nip, but never meaning to hurt you. If he did ever catch you he'd back off very quickly. It's sometimes hard to believe that I was part of Red Rums life, at the time when you've got something good you think that it's going to last forever. You have to make that happen by holding onto the memories.

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mischiefblue mischiefblue
46-50, F
Jul 12, 2010