Celebrate Red Rum Day: 12 fascinating facts about this legendary steeplechaser

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  • Today (13 October 2016) has been declared Red Rum Day at Carlisle racecourse, as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the legendary steeplechaser’s final victory in Cumbria in 1976. And to celebrate, racegoers are being invited to ‘Wear Red For Rummy’, with free entry being offered to anyone born in 1976 and a free red fizz cocktail for anyone who wears red on the day. Follow the action at #RedRumDay

    Red Rum

    12 things you need to know about Red Rum

    1. “Rummy’s” association with Liverpool began long before his reign as National hero, when, as a two-year-old, he made his debut at Aintree, dead-heating on the flat in a five-furlong selling plate.

    2. The 400gns yearling, bred to be a sprinter by Martyn McEnery in Co Kilkenny, was bought and broken in by Champion Hurdle-winning jockey Tim Molony and later switched to the ownership of Lurline Brotherton, whose ambition was to own the winner of the Grand National.

    3. Deterred by Red Rum’s escalating vet bills due to the bone disease pedalostitis and mixed fortunes in his races until then, Mrs Brotherton entered him for Doncaster’s August Sale of 1972, just eight months before the gelding would realise this dream for his new owner.

    Red Rum

    Photo credit: Jeremy Hoare

    4. Snapped up for 6,000gns on behalf of Noel le Mare, the seven-year-old began his long tenure at the late Donald “Ginger” McCain’s Upper Aughton Road stables that summer, a partnership that would continue for 23 years.

    5. The trainer, like Mrs Brotherton, had long dreamed of winning jump racing’s biggest prize at what was his local racecourse, but even McCain could not have imagined the phenomenal run his new arrival would achieve in the ensuing five years.

    6. He recorded back-to-back victories in 1973 — when he broke Golden Miller’s course record — and 1974 in what was arguably his best season, also landing the Scottish National and narrowly losing out to Red Candle in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

    7. The following two years, he was second to Ireland’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner L’Escargot and Rag Trade.

    Red Rum

    8. Rummy’s emotional hat-trick in The Queen’s Silver Jubilee year, this time in the hands of jockey Tommy Stack, made him a household name.

    9. Rummy was entered to contest a sixth Grand National in 1978 and worked well in the build-up, but, with the requisite drama that routinely surrounds the race, was declared a non-runner the night before due to lameness. He was subsequently found to have a hairline fracture and never raced again.

    10. In retirement, Rummy was as popular as he had been throughout his racing career and seemingly relished the attention from his fans. “Everybody thought the world of him, and the little devil knew it,” said McCain affectionately of his star.

    11. He made numerous public appearances, most memorably walking calmly on stage for the BBC Sports Review of the Year and pricking his ears when he heard the voice of Tommy Stack coming from the big screen.

    12. Appropriately, after his death in 1995 at the age of 30, Red Rum was laid to rest in the shadow of the winning post at Aintree, the course he had made his own.


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