Grand National legend Red Rum: 8 unseen images of ‘the people’s horse’

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  • Entitled simply Red Rum, this book produced by photographer Jeremy Hoare contains around 85 unseen and mostly unpublished glorious photographs of the famous racehorse, taken after he won his second Grand National in 1974.

    H&H shares a sneak peek of some of the pictures…

    What makes this book special is that all the photographs were taken by Jeremy behind the scenes at Ginger McCain’s Southport yard and readers are treated to images of Red Rum relaxing in his stable (pictured below with head lad Jackie Grainger) and rolling in his field — scenes not many racing fans would have witnessed before.

    For Jeremy, his association with Red Rum started when his wife, Gillian, an artist, did a drawing of the superstar after his Grand National victory in 1974.

    “We sent the drawing into Horse & Hound, but weren’t expecting much from it. However, to our delight the drawing was published on the whole of the magazine’s back page,” reflects Jeremy.

    “I contacted Ginger McCain and asked if he’d seen it. He said he had and then invited us to the yard to meet Red Rum. He was the most amazing horse I have ever met — his intelligence was like no other, it was extraordinary.

    “One month later, we returned and were able to both photograph and draw Red Rum relaxing at home and in his field (pictured rolling below). He really was ‘the people’s horse’ — he loved people so much and we got to see him playing around at home.”

    The photographer also remembers how Red Rum’s field was in a “secret location” so no one would know where he was, plus he had a companion in Andy the donkey.

    Jeremy adds: “He came over to Gillian’s canvas on which she was drawing (pictured below). Most horses would have knocked it over, but he was just so curious about everything. Gillian was a bit wary of horses but she was never scared of Red Rum, he made her feel at ease.”

    Jeremy was also fortunate enough to capture Red Rum working on the beach, many images of which have become iconic over the years.

    “The stretch of beach they galloped along was always harrowed everyday by Ginger or a member of his team,” remembers Jeremy, who also captured Red Rum making his way back to the yard from Southport beach with his lad Billy Ellison (pictured below).

    “Ginger (pictured below) was an amazing character,” reflects Jeremy. “While Red Rum came across as such an easy going and laid back horse, both in his stable and with people — he loved the attention and knew he was special.”

    Jeremy’s wife, Gillian, painted a picture of Red Rum after he won his third and final Grand National in 1977. The painting (pictured below) was purchased by Red Rum’s jockey Tommy Stack and now hangs in his house.

    “I guess Red Rum was the horse who should have never raced, let alone win. He had pedal osteitis and Ginger swore by using the sea’s salt water everyday,” adds Jeremy, who ironically has never been to Aintree to watch the Grand National.

    Jeremy Hoare’s Red Rum exhibition

    The above pictures and many more will be exhibited at Osborne Studio Gallery, 2 Motcomb St, Belgravia, London for all to enjoy from 9-18 April. There will also be a book signing of Jeremy’s book Red Rum on Tuesday, 10 April — ahead of the 2018 running of the Grand National on 14 April.

    Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s Grand National preview (12 April), plus read the full report — including analysis, comment and pictures — in the 19 April issue.

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