Arguably the most legendary horse to have ever raced in the Grand National at Aintree, Red Rum secured his place in the history books when he won three Grand National races, the first – and so far only – horse to have ever achieved the feat.
Tiger Roll, the current favorite in the Grand National odds on Betfair, has the opportunity to make it two Grand National wins in a row, something that would take him just one win away from equalling Rummy’s record.
Red Rum picked up victories in 1973, 1974, and 1977, and while each has its own merits, which one is the best victory? Let’s take a look.
In what was one of the greatest comebacks in the history of horse racing, Red Rum narrowly won the 1973 Grand National ahead of Australian horse Crisp. The pair raced as the joint-favorites at a price of 9/1, but in the early stages of the race, it seemed as though Crisp would be the one to live up to the billing.
By the end of the first circuit, Richard Pitman, Crisp’s jockey, had guided the horse to a 20-length lead. This continued to increase and by the time they reached Becher’s Brook in the second circuit that lead had extended to 33 lengths. Despite there still being a considerable amount of the race remaining, such a lead looked unsurmountable, but Red Rum wasn’t going to give up that easily.
Red Rum broke away from the chasing pack after Becher’s Brook and began chasing down the race leader. By the time Crisp had reached the final fence, he still had a solid lead of 15 lengths, but it was obvious he was beginning to tire. Red Rum’s jockey, Brian Fletcher, pushed him all the way to the end and Rummy claimed his first victory right at the death, winning by just three-quarters of a length.
Unlike his first victory, Red Rum was given the top weight when he returned in 1974 to defend his title. Crisp didn’t return for this race and instead, it was up to 1973’s third-placed horse L’Escargot to try and upset the odds.
Even though he was the defending champion, Red Rum wasn’t the favorite to win the race. It was Scout, who was ridden by future Red Rum jockey Tommy Stack, who set off as the 7/1 favorite. Even L’Escargot was seen as a more likely winner than Rummy.
But yet again it was Red Rum who took home the spoils, opening up a solid lead in the home straight. He proved the bookies wrong on this occasion, but there was one last win left in him.
The 1975 and 1976 Grand Nationals weren’t victories for Red Rum, but he did manage to finish second in both, with L’Escargot and Rag Trade winning respective races.
There were many who thought Red Rum, at 12 years old, was too old to win the race, although he was made the joint-second favorite at 9/1 with Gay Vulgan. Andy Pandy set off as the favorite at 15/2 but fell on the second circuit at Becher’s Brook.
Tommy Stack, who had ridden Red Rum at the previous Grand National, was looking to guide Rummy to the history-making third Grand National win and was fortunate enough that Andy Pandy fell at the 22nd, giving Red Rum the lead.
As he completed the remainder of the course, his lead grew, and he came home 25 lengths clear of Churchtown Boy, completing his record-breaking third Grand National title.
It’s hard to pick a winner, but his third Grand National win just about takes it. Although 1973 had a fantastic comeback, the ease at which he extended his lead in the 1977 race as well as the fact that he made history that day makes it the greatest of his three Grand National victories.