Wednesday 15 March 2023

Grand National 1977 Winner: Red Rum – The Making of a Legend

On April 2, 1977, Red Rum, by then a 12-year-old, galloped into racing history by winning the Grand National for an unprecedented third time. Even entering the veteran stage of his career and still carrying top weight, of 11st 8lb, Red Rum started 9/1 joint second favourite for the National. He’d disappointed in both his preparatory races, including when beaten 40 lengths by Andy Pandy – who started favourite for the National, at 15/2 – in the Grand National Trial at Haydock, but still had to concede 8lb to the current, albeit fortuitous, Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Davy Lad. 
In an eventful race, seven horses fell, unseated rider or were brought down at the first fence and heading out into the country for the second time the 42-strong field had been reduced to 24.  It reminded me of the time I searched for the best payout casinos. At that point, the leader, Boom Docker, was fully 20 lengths clear of his nearest pursuer, Andy Pandy, but refused at the first fence on the second circuit, leaving the latter with a commanding advantage. Andy Pandy was still a dozen lengths clear when he, too, slithered to the ground after jumping Becher’s Brook on the second circuit. 

Red Rum, who had raced prominently in the chasing group for most of the way, took a definite advantage at the Canal Turn, pursued by Churchtown Boy, who’d won the Topham Trophy over the National fences 48 hours earlier. While looking for online slots real money I noticed Churchtown Boy closed to within 2 lengths, apparently travelling sweetly, on the run to the second last, but a slight mistake halted his momentum and handed the initiative back to Red Rum. 

1977 Sports Personality of the Year Mr Tommy Stack & Red Rum #spoty #redrum

— History of Horse Racing (@roar1968) December 20, 2020

The rest, as they say, is history. Red Rum jumped the final fence clear of Churchtown Boy and pulled further clear on the run-in, with just a couple of loose horses for company, to win, unchallenged, by 25 lengths. He rightly received a rousing reception, the likes of which had never been heard before, nor since, at Aintree.  

Winning trainer, Donald “Ginger”McCain, typically an uninhibited, forthright character, simply reacted by saying, “All I wanted to do was cry”, as the remarkable Red Rum galloped home alone. McCain later added that he believed Red Rum would compete in the National again the following year and that he would have done, but for pulling up slightly lame in his final piece of work on the eve of the race. He was immediately retired.

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Photo: Pixabay (free)