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Page last updated at 07:58 GMT, Monday, 19 September 2011 08:58 UK

Red Rum trainer Ginger McCain dies aged 80


From April 2010 - Modest McCain hails 'legend' Red Rum

Ginger McCain, trainer of the legendary Grand National winner Red Rum, has died aged 80 after suffering from cancer.

McCain guided "Rummy" to three victories and two second places in a five-year period during the 1970s.

He was nicknamed "Mister Aintree" for his record at the Merseyside track and won a fourth National with Amberleigh House in 2004.

In 2006, McCain handed the reins to son Donald who won the Grand National with Ballabriggs this year.

McCain's wife Beryl said: "Donald - Ginger as we all knew him - passed away peacefully in his sleep after a short illness this morning - he would have been 81 on Wednesday.

Ginger McCain had been an unknown taxi driver and car salesman who trained a few racehorses at Southport before Red Rum achieved his never-to-be-repeated record in the 1970s. When injury forced the horse's retirement in 1978, McCain and his wife Beryl organised dozens of public appearances before Red Rum died in 1995. Just as Rummy became a household name, so did his trainer with his infectious laugh and colourful politically-incorrect turn of phrase. A long, less successful period post Red Rum was ended by Amberleigh House, who gave McCain a quite unforgettable fourth Grand National win in 2004

"There will be a private family funeral followed by a later memorial service, for which there will be more information in the coming weeks.

"Joanne, Donald Jnr and I appreciate all the kindness we are being shown and, at this difficult time, would appreciate it if we were afforded some privacy."

Jockey Tony McCoy, who ended a long wait for a Grand National victory in 2010 on Don't Push It, wrote on Twitter: "Sad to hear about the death of Aintree legend Ginger McCain, trainer of the great Red Rum. My thoughts are with his family R.I.P."

Former jockey Mick Fitzgerald, who was successful in the 1996 race on Rough Quest, told Sky Sports News: "It's a very sad to hear the news. He leaves a legacy. Every time you think of the Grand National, you think of Ginger. He was the National, to be honest.

"If you ever wanted a colourful quote you spoke to Ginger. He was never afraid to speak his mind. He believed in what he was doing and believed in the Grand National and racing needs characters like him."

BBC horse racing presenter Clare Balding wrote on Twitter: "Ginger McCain was 3 days short of his 81st birthday. He was an old-fashioned type & said what he thought but he was a character all right. Very sad for Beryl, Donald & the rest of the McCain family."

She added: "Whenever I approached Ginger with a microphone it raised the heart rate. He might swear, say something offensive or be pertinent & funny."

Former racing commentator Sir Peter O'Sullevan spoke of McCain's brilliant handling of Red Rum, who was prone to lameness.

Amberleigh House wins epic

Archive - Amberleigh House wins epic

"Red Rum had very delicate, tender feet and had been with several skilful trainers before Ginger bought him," he said.

"Of course, he trained on the sands at Southport. I don't think we'd ever have heard of Red Rum if he'd gone anywhere else.

"He will always be remembered for Red Rum - and rightly so because he and the horse appeared absolutely at the right time and were very much instrumental in saving the National at a period when it was very much in peril."

Former Aintree managing director Charles Barnett agreed that McCain was "instrumental in helping to save" the race.

"Ginger was very supportive and he got the public very much behind the appeal to purchase the track," he said

"It was an extraordinary training feat and an extraordinary horse he trained. But not just the horse, Ginger himself was very important to the race and to the venue.

"He was a marvellous man who always spoke his own mind. We loved him very much and the people of Liverpool did, too. It's a very sad day and he'll be sadly missed."

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see also
Ginger McCain's incredible journey
19 Sep 11 |  Horse Racing
Mr Aintree: National hero McCain
19 Sep 11 |  Horse Racing
Ballabriggs seals National glory
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing
McCain bows out with second place
03 Jun 06 |  Horse Racing
Red Rum: Aintree favourite
29 Mar 04 |  Horse Racing
The National's grand history
28 Mar 02 |  Grand National 2002
Pitman's winning lines
07 Nov 03 |  Horse Racing

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