Friday, April 08, 2016

Red Rum: The horse who saved the Grand National



 

 My piece on Grand National history from today's Daily Express.

IT’S watched and bet on by millions but the world’s most famous steeplechase was once in danger of disappearing – until a certain Red Rum came along..

 
It is estimated that 79 per cent of the adult population of Britain will have some form of financial interest in the outcome of tomorrow’s Grand National, with well over £150million being wagered.
A maximum crowd of 72,500 will be in attendance at Aintree, while millions more will be watching the world’s most famous steeplechase on television. It is no exaggeration to say that the Grand National is the one sporting event in Britain that stops the country.
So popular is the race today it is hard to believe that about 45 years ago its very future was in doubt. In the late 1960s and early 1970s people were talking mournfully about how the “Last National” could not be far off.

You can read the whole article here.

2 comments:

del stead said...

A fantastic history lesson on the grand national I've never had the pleasure to hear before..I'm so glad you mentioned Aldiniti...he was born in stables in my home town and what with Bob Champion riding home on a 66/1 outside horse captured the publics imagination and hearts and Aldiniti will always be a hero of Darlington...as was Red Alligator from nearby South Church near Bishop Auckland! Red Rum is probably our greatest sporting icon as unlike other sporting hero's horses aren't divisive and more importantly won the housewives hearts! You can imagine grand national day with many a husband getting the green light for the pubs and clubs as long as they stopped off at the bookmakers to place the wives eachway bet!! And wasnt it great all the different names of all these independent bookmakers? It and still does fascinate me when I go racing all these wonderful names..it's as if the names could only be for bookmakers!!but I digress and I for one miss Red Rum parading in his retirement ears pricked at Aintree and admit he brought a slight moistening of the eye even for a very occasional race goer like me

Neil Clark said...

Many thanks Del, I'm really pleased you enjoyed the piece.
Pleased to hear you're a fellow racing fan! Red Alligator was a fine horse, Denys Smith a very good trainer(I think still with us?)
Agree re Red Rum being our greatest sporting icon. With every year that passes his achievements look even greater. No horse has won the National twice since. And Rummy won it three times and came second twice at a time when the fences were much tougher!
Every year we ask the question as to whether the previous year's winner can be the 'next Rummy' and every year the answer is 'No'- as we saw again with Many Clouds on Saturday. There will almost certainly never be another Red Rum.