This is the second in a three-part series of article written by me about the famous race horse Red Rum.
You may remember that Part One of this article ended with Ginger McCain purchasing the soon-to-be superstar horse at the end of the 1972 National Hunt season.
Part Two of this series now looks at the how Ginger McCain’s influence enabled Red Rum to become the famous race horse that he became, and with an interesting training regime too.
Against All Odds His Potential Would Be Realised
Rummy’s association with Liverpool began long before his reign as arguably the most famous racehorse in Britain. As previously mentioned, as a two-year-old he made his debut at Aintree, ending in a dead-heat with Curlicue. This was however on the flat course at Aintree and not the famous National Hunt course we all know and love.
Interestingly, watching the race that day was none other than Ginger McCain, who’s name would be forever associated with the famous horse.
Although Red Rum suffered with a debilitating bone disease in his foot, Ginger McCain saw the potential of the horse and felt it was a minor obstacle that could be overcome. For many horses and their trainers, this would mean the end of a racing career before it even began, but not Rummy.
Ginger McCain trained his prize asset in the sand and shallow waters at Southport in Merseyside, not far from Liverpool. It is believed by many experts that this is the reason that Rummy was able to overcome his disability and race at an unprecedented world-class level.
History In The Making
Ginger McCain now believed that Red Rum was in his prime, and in 1973 the racing public saw this great horse, benefiting from the training on the local Southport sands, winning what is considered the most exciting Grand National race of all time.
Having been at one stage more than 20 lengths adrift of the giant Australian horse Crisp, ridden by Richard Pitman, the great horse kept going, running the race to absolute perfection. With Crisp showing signs of tiring, Rummy would steadily eat into his lead, and push on as they reached the famous elbow at Aintree.
Crisp was exhausted at this point, having lead the race from the start, but could only watch as Red Rum pipped him at the post to win a memorable race. This is perhaps the moment that signified Rummy’s destiny to become the famous race horse that he became.
And he would repeat the feat the following year. In 1974’s race, Ginger McCain’s horse was listed as third favourite at 11-1, however he secured his second Grand National with a near perfect run. By the Canal Turn second time round he was right up with the leaders and yet still on the bridle! With four fences left he had the lead and never lost it.
Winning the 1973 and 1974 meant that Red Rum was the first horse since Reynolds Town back in the 1930’s to win successive Grand Nationals, and at this stage the experts were predicting he was a famous race horse in the making.
In fact 1974 was arguably Rummy’s best season, as in addition to winning his second Grand National at Aintree he landed the Scottish National as well, and only narrowly lost out to Red Candle in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
Cliff Thurston owns the successful Grosvenor Racing Club, and has been giving his members winning horse racing tips since 2003.