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Last Updated: Monday, 29 March, 2004, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Red Rum: Aintree favourite
Red Rum is not just a racing hero, he is a sporting legend.

His feats on the racecourse remain unsurpassed and his place in the public's affection is undiminished 25 years after the end of his career.

Red Rum passes the Aintree winning post in 1977 for his third win in the race
Born: 3 May, 1965
Died: 18 October, 1995
Owner: Noel Le Mare
Trainer: Ginger McCain
Main jockeys: Brian Fletcher, Tommy Stack
Career highlights: Three Grand National wins (also second twice); Scottish Grand National

His death made the front pages of the national newspapers and his name is still probably the first that non-turf fans will give when asked to name a racehorse.

Red Rum's legend centres not just around his amazing feats on the racecourse but also the circumstances in which he achieved them.

He was bred to be a sprinter but ended up - after overcoming a career-threatening disease - winning one of the world's most arduous steeplechases not just once, but three times.

His sound jumping (he fell just once in over 100 races), stamina and bravery were perfectly suited to the demanding Grand National fences and his record of three wins (and two seconds) will surely never be matched.

Red Rum was bred in Ireland and sold for a mere 400 guineas as a yearling.

Appropriately, he ran his first race at Aintree, and dead-heated for first.

Potential disaster struck relatively early in his career when Red Rum was diagnosed as suffering from pedalostitis, a debilitating bone disease which can cripple horses.

In stepped Southport trainer Donald 'Ginger' McCain, who bought the horse for 6,000 guineas for owner Noel le Mare.

McCain's training regime, which took place on the local beach, proved effective in curing Red Rum of his bone problems.

The horse then won five races and as a consequence started joint favourite for the 1973 Grand National.

Ironically, Red Rum was the villain of the piece in his first victory in a race that witnessed one of the classic Grand National finishes.

Crisp, ridden by Richard Pitman and carrying the top weight of 12 stone, had led for the entire second circuit and jumped the final fence more than 15 lengths clear of Red Rum, under Brian Fletcher.

Red Rum
There will never be another horse like him
Red Rum's trainer Ginger McCain

But Crisp was tiring dramatically and Red Rum, carrying 23 pounds less, managed to reel in his rival on the notoriously long run-in to snatch victory on the winning line by just three-quarters of a length.

The time of nine minutes, 1.9 seconds set a new record, 20 seconds faster than the previous best mark, and one which would stand for another 16 years.

The following year it was Red Rum's turn to shoulder the top weight and, guided once again by Fletcher, he cruised home to become the first - and to date last - back-to-back winner since Reynoldstown in 1936.

Three weeks later, he won the Scottish Grand National carrying 11st 13lb.

He is the only horse to have achieved this double - a statue of the horse at Ayr now marks the feat.

The 1975 National saw Red Rum, a heavily backed 7/2 favourite beaten into second place by L'Escargot.

The following year, ridden for the first time by Tommy Stack, Red Rum again came second, this time losing out to Rag Trade.

By the time the 1977 Grand National came round, Red Rum was a 12-year-old and was generally seen to be a spent force.

But he lined up for Aintree's big race and to the delight of both the local crowd and the watching millions on TV, came home for a third success by a winning margin of 25 lengths.

The horse was prepared for a sixth attempt at the Grand National the following season but suffered a hairline fracture the day before and was subsequently retired.

Red Rum stayed in the spotlight, and led the pre-race parade in many Grand Nationals thereafter.

He died in 1995 at the age of 30 and was fittingly buried by the winning post on the Grand National course at Aintree.

A life-size bronze statue was also erected at the course in tribute to the horse, who is a National - and a national - legend.

Go behind the scenes at Aintree with BBC News

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