One of the greatest horses to have ever raced in the Grand National, Red Rum was simply dominant on the Aintree course, brushing aside the competition to claim three Grand National titles in the 1970s.
Such was his legend that when Red Rum sadly passed away in October 1995, not only did the national newspapers make the news a front page story, but his ashes were buried at the finishing post at the Aintree racecourse.
Although it’s unlikely we’ll ever see another horse quite as great as Red Rum, in the Grand National latest odds, defending champion Tiger Roll is the current favourite at 10/1 and victory would see him begin the creation of his own legend.
Here, we take a look at Red Rum’s three Grand National victories, starting with his run to clinch his first.
The 1973 Grand National
Red Rum’s first Grand National victory is considered one of the greatest racing comebacks of all time, while he also broke the record for the fastest time in the race.
Prior to the race, Red Rum, ridden by Brian Fletcher, went into the race as joint-favourite with Crisp, at a price of 9/1. It was these two horses who had one of the greatest battles ever, and it was a race that would help make Red Rum a racing legend.
Crisp, ridden by Richard Pitman, had opened up a 33-length lead after jumping Becher’s Brook on the second circuit. At this point, Red Rum broke away from the chasing pack and began hunting down the leader with around half of the track remaining.
By the time Crisp reached the final fence, his lead, although still sizeable, had been cut to 15-lengths by Red Rum. Not to be put off by the distance, Red Rum continued to close Crisp down, and as the leader began to tire, Fletcher was kicking Red Rum hard with victory in his sights. Red Rum pipped Crisp to the post by three-quarters of a length and completed one of the greatest sporting comebacks ever.
The 1974 Grand National
Despite coming in as the defending champion, Red Rum was not the favourite to win the race, with Scout, whose jockey was future Red Rum jockey Tommy Stack, being priced at 7/1 prior to the race and Rummy, again ridden by Brian Fletcher, at 11/1.
Unlike in his first victory, Red Rum was this time carrying the top weight of 12 stone. He was dominant from the off and finished well clear of L’Escargot to make it two wins in a row. This would be the Red Rum’s last Grand National win with Brian Fletcher as his jockey.
The 1977 Grand National
Cementing his place in the history books, Red Rum completed a hat-trick of Grand National wins in 1977, this time ridden by Tommy Stack. Prior to the race, there was a belief amongst horse racing fans that Red Rum, then 12, was too old to win another Grand National.
He was given one of the top weights again for the race, and while that initially looked to have hampered his chances of winning a third Grand National, by the time he reached the 22nd fence, he had taken the lead. After taking the lead thanks to Andy Pandy – the pre-race favourite – falling at the 22nd, Red Rum gradually increased his lead on the chasing pack.
Coming into the home straight Red Rum’s lead was unassailable and he finished an incredible 25-lengths ahead of second-placed Churchtown Boy. Red Rum had not only become the first horse to have ever won the Grand National on three occasions, but he also did so off the back of some inconsistent form in the early season races.