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  Friday, 29 March, 2002, 14:52 GMT
Golden Red Rum memories
Red Rum wins the 1977 Grand National
Red Rum wins his third Grand National in 1977
Legendary trainer Ginger McCain tells BBC Sport Online's Sophie Brown about his memories of Red Rum's Grand National triumphs.

The summer of 1977 was a glorious one for national institutions.

The Queen celebrated her silver jubilee, a Wimbledon singles title was won by a British player and an incredible new milestone was set in the Grand National.

Red Rum's third victory in the world's most famous steeplechase ensured his place at the forefront of racing's history books.

Not only was it the horse's third victory in the race in five years but Red Rum had also come second twice in that time.


He was just such a tremendous competitor - a seriously magical horse
Ginger McCain

Although it is the third win that sealed the horse's greatness in the eyes of the public, trainer Ginger McCain says Red Rum's first two wins and even the two second-places were just as special.

"To win it the first time was great because we never really aspired to win it," says McCain.

"He had won five out of seven races for us and was fit - we went there confidently but you never really expect to win a National.

"The second time he carried 12 stone and to carry top weight and win it very easily is some achievement.

"And of course, the third time was great but I wouldn't split any of the five runs.

"Even the two seconds were magic.

"He was just such a tremendous competitor - a seriously magical horse."

Despite his absolute faith in Red Rum, McCain admits to having had several superstitions in the lead-up to the Grand National.

"You tend to do everything that you've done before," he says.

"We went (to the course) in the same car. We had a party on the way up at a friend's house and it was always the same people in the car.

"The last time we went, a girl who was only 11 or 12 or maybe 13 had broken her leg and she had to go with her leg in plaster sticking out the car window.

Ginger McCain
McCain: Red Rum changed my life

"I always used to watch the race from the top of the grandstand - I remember nearly jumping off it in excitement when he won.

"The third time he won, the noise of the cheering crowd was deafening as he led up that long run-in.

"People had said beforehand that we shouldn't be running him - they said he was too old.

"But I knew the horse and he loved the place and he loved the race.

"He was a very, very good horse when he won it for the last time.

"Tommy Stack, who rode him, said he didn't walk round at the start, he stalked round.

"It was if he was saying 'This is my place, this is my race' and he won it accordingly.

"He would have had a good chance to have won the following year (for a fourth time) had he not been injured."

McCain was bitterly disappointed at having to pull Red Rum out on the eve of the 1978 Grand National.

But the trainer is grateful for the memories and opportunities that the horse gave him.

"Red Rum was something special. He changed my life and there will never be another like him."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Trainer Ginger McCain
"Red Rum switched on the Blackpool lights"
The world's most famous steeplechase

Bindaree's triumph

Our man at Aintree

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See also:

29 Mar 02 | Grand National 2002
29 Mar 02 | Grand National 2002
28 Mar 02 | Photo Galleries
Links to more Grand National 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


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