Fifty years after his first Aintree win, Red Rum is back in town as a galloping hologram
FIFTY years after galloping home to win his first Aintree showpiece, wonder horse Red Rum has returned.
A rummy hologram shows the strength and poise with which he has won three Grand Nationals in five years and has brought the beloved racehorse back to Liverpool.
The images, beamed onto the city’s iconic Royal Liver Building, paid homage to the nation’s favorite steeplechase runner on the golden anniversary of his victory in 1973.
It was one of the best Nationals of all time, Red Rum relentlessly catching up with runaway leader Crisp to put him at the post.
Crisp, who at one point had a seemingly unassailable 30 lengths lead, was still 15 lengths ahead of Rummy and his rider Brian Fletcher at the final fence.
Crisp’s jockey Richard Pitman later said, “I still dream of that race, of Crisp running so hard and jumping so fearlessly, and then the sound of Red Rum’s hooves as he got closer and closer at the end.
“I felt like I was tied to a railroad track while an express train roared in and couldn’t avoid it.”
Bookmaker Coral, which organized the hologram event to kick off tomorrow’s big race, said Red Rum was still the “most popular and popular winner” of the race.
Rummy won the race again in 1974 and 1977, and finished second in 1975 and 1976.
Tony McCoy, a 20-time jockey champion, said the horse’s record will “never be equaled, much less surpassed”.
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Trained by used car dealer Ginger McCain on the beach at Southport, 20 miles north of Liverpool, the gelding has become Britain’s favorite animal.
McCain’s son Donald, who coached Ballabriggs to win the 2011 National, said of Red Rum’s third win, “I remember he came home — and looked out my bedroom window, and the whole street was full of people at the roofs.
“The road was closed. It was like watching Liverpool come back with the Champions League trophy.”
After his retirement, Red Rum went into showbiz like a horse into water.
He was a studio guest at the 1977 BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony and his image has appeared on posters, mugs, puzzles and playing cards and statues have been commissioned of him.
Rummy’s star power made him appear when the Blackpool Illuminations came on and he drew enthusiastic crowds as he attended the opening of supermarkets, festivals and betting shops.
The beloved horse died in 1995 aged 30 and was buried, where else, at Victor’s Post in Aintree.
Watched by 600 million viewers around the world, tomorrow’s Grand National is a testament to the popularity Rummy’s exploits have brought to the race.
ITV Racing’s Luke Harvey, a former jockey, summed it up: “When I was a kid watching Red Rum win those Nationals it made me fall in love with horse racing.
“He had star quality and loved the crowds. He was a bit of a show off and knew they were cheering him on.
“To see him galloping again in Liverpool is fantastic. It’s part of the folklore of the Grand National and of British sport.”