Farewell to ‘beloved’ Grand National hero

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  • Red Marauder, who was triumphant in one of the most attritional Grand Nationals ever run, has died aged 26.

    The Norman Mason-owned gelding withstood the particularly testing conditions at Aintree in 2001 under his jockey Richard Guest to beat the runner-up Smarty.

    It was an incident-packed race — with 40 runners lined up at the start, drama ensued when a pile-up at the Canal Turn took out the majority of the field.

    AP McCoy riding Blowing Wind and Ruby Walsh on Papillon both remounted their horses to make up the mere four runners who completed the race, albeit severely mud-splattered.

    Controversy followed as to whether the race should have been run in such harsh conditions.

    After being retired from the racecourse the son of Gunner B enjoyed an easy life at Richard’s Wetherby yard — from where the former jockey now trains racehorses.

    He was put to sleep on Tuesday (22 November).

    “It is with a heavy heart that we have to break the news that our beloved Red Marauder lay down for the last time on Tuesday night at the grand age of 26,” read a statement from the yard.

    “Since he ran his final race in 2003, he was looked after as the racing royalty he was, and he enjoyed his retirement living out in the paddock.”

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    Red Marauder was victorious in nine of his 21 races — with Richard partnering him for most of them. He also amounted an impressive £392,206 in prize money, but his most memorable triumph will always remain his heroic Aintree win.

    “The 2001 Grand National will always be remembered and is an unforgettable moment in racing history, with the sign of Red and Richard returning exhausted, victorious and coated in mud providing a memorable image, and summing up the bravery, determination and sheer guts of Red Marauder,” the statement concluded.

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