Red Rum: UK's all-time greatest thoroughbred steeplechaser

Red Rum was a famous Irish Thoroughbred steeplechaser, who is widely seen as one of the United Kingdom's all-time great racehorses. Despite having an incurable bone disease in his hoof, you would never know it judging by his success. Red Rum is most well-known for a run between 1973 and 1977, where he won the Grand National three times while finishing in second twice. Red Rum was essentially a celebrity in the U.K. while he was alive, having appeared at awards ceremonies and also having his retirement being breaking news across television and newspapers in 1978. Red Rum is also known for having never fallen in his 100 races.

Red Rum's Profile

  • Place of birth: Rossenarra stud in Kells, County Kilkenny, Ireland

  • Date of birth and death: May 3, 1965 - October 18, 1995 (30 years)

  • Sex: Gelding

  • Owner: Noel le Mare

  • Trainer: Ginger McCain

  • Sire: Quorum

  • Dam: Mared

  • Jockeys: Brian Fletcher, Tommy Stack

  • Record: 100: 24-15-23

  • Career earnings: £146,409.80 ($196,727.28 USD)

Red Rum's Achievements

Throughout his career, Red Rum had four major wins, with three of them being at the Grand National. Of his three Grand National wins, his biggest and most historic would be that of 1973. At the event, Red Rum trailed Crisp, an Australian chaser, for first place for a majority of the race. Going into the second last fence, Red Rum trailed Crisp by 20 lengths, however, he was able to overcome the difference and win the race, beating Crisp by three-quarters of a length while also breaking the course record by 19 seconds in the process that stood until 1990. To this day, many call Red Rum's 1973 Grand National victory the biggest in the event's history.

Over the next four years, Red Rum would win the Grand National two more times, cementing his place in history. While his 1974 Grand National victory was also impressive, it was Red Rum's 1977 victory that may give the 1973 a run for its money when it comes to the title of most important victory at the event. When Red Rum won the Grand National in 1977, he became the first horse to ever do so three times, which is a record that remains unbroken over 43 years later. That goes to show that Red Rum's talents did live up to his legendary status.

Notable Remarks

It is almost impossible to talk about Red Rum without talking about his trainer, Ginger McCain. McCain first began training horses in 1962, but didn't have success until he began training Red Rum in 1973, after having his eyes on the horse for six years. McCain won the three Grand National races with Red Rum before winning a fourth in 2004 with Amberleigh House, tying the record for most Grand National wins by a person with four.

The partnership and success between Red Rum and McCain is seen as being a main reason why so much attention was brought back the Grand National. Thousands of people would attend Red Rum's Grand National races, hoping that they would get to see him dominate the competition.

When Red Rum passed away in 1995, his death was the lead story on many major news channels throughout the U.K.. Over a decade later, polls suggested that he is the most well-known racehorse in the country. Today, Red Rum is still being honored for his contributions to horseracing. There are pubs, trains, fire stations and chases named after Red Rum in the U.K. and the United States, showing that his impact isn't isolated to just one part of the world.