Red Rum: 5 Things We Can Learn From One of the Most Famous Race Horses

By  //  August 12, 2021

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Will there ever be another race horse as good as Red Rum? Let’s look at the facts. Red Rum was a thoroughbred race horse whose winning record at the Grand National (one of the most famous races in horse racing) has stood unmatched for nearly 50 years. 

There are so many things that we can learn from looking at the life and achievements of Red Rum – one of the greatest racing horses of all time. 

#1 – Slow and steady does sometimes win the race 

We are, of course, referring to Red Rum’s first Grand National win in 1973. This race often takes the top spot on the ‘greatest horse races of all time’ list. Go watch it and you’ll understand why. 

Trainer Donald McCain brought a race horse with a debilitating bone disease for 6000 guineas who he named Red Rum. 

In 1973, Crisp raced out in front of every other horse – gaining 24+ lengths on everyone else. Over the rest of the race, Red Rum chased down Chrisp and beat him at the very last second. In the process, both horses beat the course record that had stood for 40 years prior to the race. 

One of the commentators even called Red Rum the winner before the end of the race. 

#2 – It’s important to never give up 

Red Rum is famous for his unmatched achievements in the Grand National. He won the race three times, which no horse had done before or has done since. 

However, they weren’t three wins in a row. In fact, Red Rum raced the Grand National 5 times, coming second in the other two races. It could have been easy for his team to write off his first two victories as a one offs and move on to another horse. 

But, they chose to stick with Red Rum, because they believed the horse could achieve much more. And they were right. After two second places in a row, Red Rum went on to win the grand national for a record breaking third time. 

It would have been easy to stop at two victories in a row. Only 5 horses in history had done it before Red Rum (and only 1 has done it since). Instead, the team trained and trained for one more victory. 

Red Rum got better and better with each year, before finally getting his record breaking third victory 3 years later. That year Red Rum was praised for his cat-like reflexes and the sixth sense that always seemed to keep him out of trouble and danger. 

#3 – The right trainer can make a champion out of a horse 

Red Rum isn’t the only Grand National winning horse his trainer ever produced. 

Red Rum was an incredible horse and there may never be another like him. But we have to give some credit to his trainer and the team around him. Red Rum wasn’t their only success story, and his trainer continued to change the sport of horse racing even after Red Rum retired. 

Donald “Ginger” McCain was a former RAF pilot who worked as a taxi driver to supplement his training career before Red Rum’s first Grand National Victory. McCain’s training business was a family affair, after retiring Red Rum McCain and his son went on to train another Grand National winner together – Amberleigh House. 

After he died, the third place trophy at the Grand National was dedicated to McCain. His son has since had more success in the world of horse racing and has produced yet another Grand National winning horse. 

#4 – The horses aren’t challenged in the same way anymore 

One of the most admirable things about Red Rum was that he rose to every challenge he faced. When he raced, courses were hard and unforgiving. There was no room for errors. One wrong step could cost you everything. 

It is agreed amongst the followers of horse racing that Red Rum was racing in the most challenging period of the sport. And that the tough courses he ran on, just aren’t there anymore. 

So, not only was he setting records at the time, but no one has ever come close to beating them on easier courses. This is why people will be talking about Red Rum for many years to come. Any good horse will be compared to him. 

If you have an idea about which horse could be the next Red Rum then visit the website

The horse that perhaps came the closest to competing with Red Rum, was Tiger Roll – who became the only horse since Red Rum to win the Grand National twice in a row in 2018. Only 5 other horses in history have achieved this. 

#5 – Red Rum will never be forgotten 

When Red Rum died in 1995, not only did his death make the front page of all the British newspapers, but it was also heavily featured on the broadcast news at the time. 

Since his death, a course at Aintree (where the Grand National is held) has been named after him. There is also a large statue of him there. There was also a pub called Red Rum which is now a tandoori restaurant. 

In the city where he came from, Liverpool, Red Rum has multiple streets named after him, and he even has a train named after him. Other people to have trains named after them in Liverpool include the Beatles. 

One of Red Rum’s biggest achievements in the sport is believed to be cementing The Grand National as the greatest race in Europe. After Red Rum’s third victory the race became so popular that the owners were able to raise enough money to be taken over by the Jockey Club (the governing body of British Horse Racing). 

Until there is another horse that is able to compete on the same level as Red Rum, he will never stop being talked about.