A wire sculpture of Grand National legend Red Rum is to be unveiled at Aintree to mark 40 years since his third win in the iconic race.

Artist Paul Tavernor has spent three months creating the piece of art out of steel wire and mesh.

The artwork will be on display at the racecourse from the first day of the Grand National Festival (6 April) and is to be installed close to Red Rum’s final resting place.

“When I learned that Red Rum — this beautiful and superb racehorse — was celebrating the 40th anniversary of him winning his third Grand National, it took me straight back to my childhood memories of me and my family, huddled around a small TV in the 1970s, urging him on to win,” Paul told H&H.

Red Rum scuplture

The project begins

“Horses are such magnificent and powerful creatures — I have often painted them.

“But I was really inspired to make a tribute to Red Rum and get my hands on to physical steel bars and wire to create this legendary racehorse.

Red Rum sculpture

Taking shape

“I have called him ‘To The Wire’ to reflect that poise, that grit, that determination of heading towards the winning post, that all racehorses and jockeys face as they race towards the finishing post.”

He added he has enjoyed working with the racecourse and is “very much looking forward” to seeing the sculpture at the Grand National.

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Red Rum is the most successful horse in the history of the race. He took top honours three times, in 1973, 1974 and 1977. He also finished runner-up in the two intervening years (1975 and 1976).

Christine Wheatcroft, the Jockey Club’s north-west regional marketing manager, said Aintree is always keen to add new features and showcase work that has a connection to the racecourse and its legends.

“When I discovered Paul’s work and his passion for capturing animals in poses depicting speed and motion, I was very intrigued to learn more about his Red Rum-inspired sculpture,” she told H&H.

Red Rum sculpture

In progress

“As an Aintree hero, Red Rum is the epitome of an elite athlete, being the only runner to have won the Grand National race on three separate occasions.

“This year, Aintree will mark the 40th anniversary since his last win in 1977 and therefore, as part of various tributes taking place across the festival, Paul Tavernor’s sculpture will be positioned close to ‘Rummy’s’ grave, located near the finishing post.

“Whilst there is artistic license in every artwork, I know Paul has spent endless hours studying Rummy to get as true a likeness as possible.”

There will also be a chance to meet Paul during the festival. Click here for details.

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