Second Randox Health Grand National a Triumph for both Sport and Sponsor

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Second Randox Health Grand National a Triumph for both Sport and Sponsor

The sponsor of the Randox Health Grand National says the decision to take on the world’s most famous steeplechase has been one of his best since starting his company in 1982.

With an engaging public competition to compliment the three days of top-class racing, Dr Peter FitzGerald said becoming sponsor is paying dividends for Randox Health.

 “This year coincided with the opening of our flagship clinic in Liverpool, and is a perfect way to service the appetite shown by people in the city for next-generation lifestyle choices. Each generation expects to live longer than the other but this is perhaps the first that wants to do it healthier.

“Over half of cancers are preventable, as are the majority of strokes and cardiovascular diseases. Avoiding them comes through knowledge. The way to achieve this is a full body health check and in this, we lead the world. Each of our health checks delivers up to 350 results, as well as a full year of repeat testing and private consultations. There is truly no better way to extend your life, and live better for longer.

“Connecting our brand with the Randox Health Grand National – the world’s greatest steeplechase – has been enormously beneficial. There are few events in the world that can capture such attention, and once again it certainly lived up to that reputation and delivered a story fit for the history books. As well as one of the tightest finishes in the race’s history, it was a particularly poignant victory for jockey Davy Russell who claimed first place at his 14th attempt, just weeks after the death of his mother and birth of his fourth child. Congratulations must also go to Tiger Roll’s trainer Gordon Elliot and owner Michael O’Leary. We’re also very pleased that for a sixth year all the runners came home safely.

“We were delighted with our second year, and the buzz and excitement of the crowds at Aintree created a very special atmosphere along with the sunshine which appeared just in time. Throughout the three days, hundreds of people took part in our True Age Challenge, and we hope, found a renewed enthusiasm to start thinking proactively about securing their future health.

“I would like to thank the public who attended and gave their support to this wonderful event. We look forward to the next few years delivering the most iconic horse-race and sharing our message with the world.”

For more information about the Randox Health Grand National 2018 please contact the Randox PR team by emailing randoxpr@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413.

 

 

 


Randox Health to sponsor Aintree’s Becher Chase

Randox is pleased to announce that Randox Health will be sponsoring the Becher Chase at Aintree Racecourse in a three-year deal.

The £145,000 Randox Health Becher Chase is the centrepiece of Becher Chase Day at Aintree on Saturday, December 9, the only fixture outside of the Randox Health Grand National Festival to feature action over the Grand National fences.

Dr Peter FitzGerald, founder and Managing Director of Randox Health, emphasised Randox Health‘s commitment to both racing and the city of Liverpool.

He said: “We’re delighted to sponsor the Becher Chase, which year-on-year is becoming a more prominent day in the racing calendar for high-calibre horses to compete. With the ongoing work being done by the team at Aintree, that’s no surprise.

“Aintree is a spectacular course and though we will obviously miss the return of One For Arthur, having an open field as we begin the run up to the most exciting race in the whole calendar – the 2018 Randox Health Grand National – will add an unexpected frisson for racing fans.”

As previously announced, Aintree’s Listed Chase over three miles and a furlong on Becher Chase Day, won last year by Many Clouds, has been re-named in honour of the 2015 Grand National winner and upgraded from Listed to Grade 2 level. It will be run as the £50,000 G2 188Bet.co.uk Many Clouds Chase.

John Baker, Managing Director of Aintree Racecourse, added: “We’re thrilled that Randox Health has decided to extend their sponsorship of the Grand National by adding the Becher Chase as well.
 
“Randox is a committed, valued and exciting partner for Aintree and Jockey Club Racecourses and we look forward to working closely with the team at Randox for many years to come.
 
“Becher Chase Day is going from strength to strength and with the quality of horses entered in both the Becher and Sefton Chase in recent years, we’re confident it’s going to be another fantastic day over the iconic Grand National fences at Aintree.”

The G3 Randox Health Becher Chase is a handicap chase over three and a quarter miles of the Grand National course. It serves as an early-season trial for the Randox Health Grand National.

Two winners have gone on to win the Grand National; Amberleigh House and Silver Birch. Earth Summit won the race in 1998 following his Grand National win the previous season.

The second race of the day over the Grand National fences on Becher Chase Day is the £70,000 188bet.co.uk Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs.

In addition to Randox Health’s sponsorship of the Becher Chase and after a successful partnership for Sandown Park Racecourse’s Gents Day this summer, the company will also sponsor the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at the Esher venue on Saturday, December 9. This is part of the three year agreement with Jockey Club Racecourses to sponsor Becher Chase day.

Entries for the 2017 Randox Health Becher Chase, plus the 188bet Grand Sefton Chase, which also takes place over the Grand National fences, close at noon today Tuesday, November 14 and will be revealed tomorrow, Wednesday, November 15.

Tickets for the 2017 Randox Health Becher Chase raceday are available to purchase at aintree.thejockeyclub.co.uk or by calling 0344 579 3001. Racegoers can also buy tickets directly from the sales office at Aintree Racecourse. Hospitality packages are currently available to purchase, please call 0151 522 2911 for more information.


Nationwide competition will launch in 2019 to select Randox Health Grand National Trophy

Renowned silversmith Shannon O’Neill is collaborating once again with Grand National sponsor Randox Health to create the 2018 trophy, before the process of designing and developing the prestigious trophy becomes a nationwide competition.

Shining a light on one of the most prestigious industries in the UK – the Goldsmiths Company – this will mark the first time that a trophy of this prominence has been determined by a competition, which will challenge craftsmen to produce a design which is then selected by a panel of expert judges.

 Dr Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox, said:

“There is no other race that captures the public imagination like the Randox Health Grand National and so drawing back the curtain to reveal how the coveted trophy is developed will be fascinating. The Goldsmiths Company and its craftsmen and women are renowned throughout the world and I have no doubt that people will be fascinated to learn more about this group of talented and creative artists. We’re very excited to be introducing this element to the 2019 Festival.”

The competition follows on from the introduction by Randox Health last year of additional miniature trophies which were presented to the winning team made up of jockey Derek Fox, trainer Lucinda Russell and groom Jaimie Duff. These scale representations were modelled on the official trophy presented to One For Arthur’s owners Belinda McClung and Deborah Thomson.

Lucinda Russell, One for Arthur’s trainer, said:

“As anyone who knows racing will appreciate, winning is a team effort. It was wonderful for Randox Health to recognise that, and fantastic for each of us to receive these beautiful trophies to mark what has been the most incredible time of our lives.”

Working alongside Randox Health to create the 2018 trophy, and tipped to be one of the expert judges on the competition panel, is Shannon O’Neill;

“It’s difficult to put into words just how incredible an experience it is to work on the Randox Health Grand National trophies. It is a huge honour, and it was a very special moment for me to see Derek Fox holding the trophy at Aintree last year.

“There is so little known about the world of goldsmiths, and the amazing talent we have in the UK. Bringing that talent to the fore through a nationwide competition is very exciting. One of the things that Randox is committed to is championing the best in the UK be it in science, sport or the arts. There is no limit to the imagination or skills of the goldsmiths in the UK and I can’t wait to see the innovative designs that this new competition will facilitate.”

Details about the 2019 competition will be revealed later this year. Making up the judging panel will be industry experts, as well as some of the biggest names in racing.

The 2018 Randox Health Grand National trophy will be unveiled at The Weights event in February, before being taken on a tour of schools in Northern Ireland and Liverpool.

For further information please contact Randox PR by phoning 028 9445 1016 or emailing RandoxPR@randox.com

Shannon O’Neill, Dr Peter FitzGerald and Sir AP McCoy with the Randox Health Grand National 2017 trophy


Randox Health Grand National debut “could not have been better!” says Dr. Peter FitzGerald

The sponsor of the Randox Health Grand National has congratulated all involved in this year’s event, saying it has been a fantastic success.

Dr Peter FitzGerald also paid tribute to the company’s partners The Jockey Club and the new broadcasters ITV.

“We couldn’t have wished for a better first year for the Randox Health Grand National, from the incredible weather, the warmth and energy of the crowds, to the fact that for a fifth year all runners came home safely.

“Yet again this race delivered a magical story for the winning jockey Derek Fox who broke his wrist a month ago and fought against the odds to come back. It was a very special moment handing over the trophy to One for Arthur’s owners Belinda and Deborah – the emotion they felt was clear to all. I am delighted for the trainer Lucinda Russell and her assistant Peter Scudamore who deserve every credit for this fantastic victory.

“This was our first Randox Health Grand National, and we have at least four more to look forward to.

“Throughout history there are periods of enlightenment, and I believe this is one. People now understand they can take a proactive, preventive approach to their health. Only Randox Health offers the only diagnostic technology to enable people take control of their futures. We are moving beyond traditional models of delivery and have launched mobile clinics so people can access our services wherever they are, whenever they want.

“It has been a wonderful experience working with ITV, as it has been their first Randox Health Grand National as well. The build-up to the People’s Race was insightful and engaging, with terrific presenters led by Ed Chamberlin and Oli Bell, and helped of course by our ambassador Sir Anthony McCoy. That it increased audience share is a marker of the success of the team.

“The Jockey Club has also been a superb partner, and they worked tirelessly to deliver a first-rate festival which was enjoyed by millions on TV and tens of thousands on the course.

“I would also like to thank the public who attended and gave their support to the event. We look forward to the next few years delivering the most iconic horse-race and sharing our message with the world.”

For more information about Randox Health please contact Nicola McHugh or Amy McIlwaine in the Randox PR team by emailing randoxpr@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413

View a selection of photographs from the Randox Health Grand National festival in the Image Gallery below.

View a selection of photographs from Randox Health Week, in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool, in the Image Gallery below.


The 50th anniversary of ‘Foinavon,’ the most unexpected Grand National winner

There are many anniversaries to be celebrated during the 2017 Randox Health Grand National, and one of them will be of the most unexpected victory in 1967. A horse no-one ever thought could win did just that 50 years ago. Foinavon and his jockey -John Buckingham – entered the history books.

This year, John’s widow and 70 of their closest friends and family will be coming to Aintree to mark the anniversary.

It’s being marked in a special BBC Merseyside tribute by the well-known racing correspondent Mike Hughes, who was the last person to interview John. 

 

This Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National marks fifty years to the very day of the most extraordinary race in Aintree history.

Foinavon was the 100/1 winner in 1967 but the huge price about the winner was only part of the story.

Given the challenging nature of the course of the world’s most famous race, there’d been the usually array of fallers on the first circuit. Becher’s Brook has a fearsome reputation as one of the most difficult fences in National Hunt racing, but all the horses left standing on the second circuit managed to jump it.

Next up was the 23rd fence, the smallest on the course, nobody could have foreseen what was to happen.

A loose horse, Popham Down refused and turned away from the fence – preventing almost every other horse from clearing the fence. Except one. Foinavon was thirty lengths off the pace, and under the expertise of jockey John Buckingham , managed to pick a way through and jumped Becher’s like a stag.

The favourite for the race Honey End remounted and was making up ground but Foinavon drew clear to win the race in emphatic fashion.

John Buckingham was the toast of the weighing room and his fellow jockeys praised him to the heavens. Incredibly John only got the ride on Foinavon on the Wednesday before the race after three jockeys had turned down the ride. The night before the race he slept on two armchairs in a nearby Guest House.

Foinavon’s victory was so unexpected that even the horse’s owner and trainer were elsewhere on the day.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the race, BBC Radio Merseyside have put together a documentary, called simply “Foinavon”

It will be broadcast this Wednesday night on Merseyside Sport 6-7pm.

The programme includes an interview with the hero of the day John Buckingham. I travelled down to Chipping Warden to speak to John in early December last year. He couldn’t have been more charming and informative. Sadly John died unexpectedly a couple of weeks later.

It was the last interview he ever did.

On Randox Health Grand National day this Saturday, John’s wife Anne and seventy of their friends and family are coming to Aintree to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the day that  John and Foimavon wrote their names in sporting history.

You can listen to “Foinavon” on Wednesday night on Merseyside Sport at 6.15 pm, or on www.bbc.co.uk/radiomerseyside or on the BBC iPlayer for Radio App.

For more information  please contact Randox PR on 028 9442 2413 or email RandoxPR@randox.com


Randox Horse Tales | Rose Paterson on Foinavon’s 100-1 dream come true in the 1967 Grand National

The countdown to the Randox Health Grand National continues, with only two weeks to go before the first day of the Festival.

And there’s no one who knows the history of the race better than Aintree Racecourse Chairman, Rose Paterson.  Today she shares her memories of her favourite horse, Foinavon,  and why his unexpected Grand National win in 1967 has become an iconic moment in the history of the great race.

Foinavon is the Forrest Gump of Grand National history, the horse who became immortal despite his best endeavours.

Bred in the purple by the great stallion Vulgan, he was bought as a youngster by Anne, Duchess of Westminster, one of the pre-eminent National Hunt owners of her generation and sent to Tom Dreaper, the Willie Mullins of his day, along with another young horse, Arkle. Both horses were named after mountains on the Westminsters’ Invernesshire estate.

However, while Arkle went on to win three Cheltenham Gold Cups and become the benchmark for NH greatness, Foinavon’s trajectory was in a different direction. Pat Taaffe, Dreaper’s stable jockey, said of him “I never came across a horse with less ambition.”

The final straw was when after a heavy fall, Taaffe scrambled to his feet, desperately worried for Foinavon, who had failed to rise. He found him sitting comfortably on the ground, eating grass.

It was a short journey from this incident to Doncaster sales, where he was snapped up by small time trainer and part-time farrier John Kempton, entirely because he had qualified for the Grand National and one of his few owners, Cyril Watkins, was desperate for a runner. By this time, Foinavon had acquired a white goat named Suzie as a companion, who travelled everywhere with him and with whom he developed a love/hate relationship.

A year later, after 17 consecutive losing runs, Foinavon was ready to have a go. He had already run in the Gold Cup three weeks earlier, at 500-1 and no less than twice since then, without distinction. His jockey, John Buckingham, was the trainer’s third choice and neither owner or trainer could be bothered to make the five hour journey to Aintree.

When the disaster caused by loose horses Popham Down and April Rose unfolded at the smallest fence on the course, universally described as “the one after Becher’s,” Foinavon was so far behind the leaders that he was able to pop a gap in the fence and trundle on to the Canal Turn, leaving a scene of mayhem in his wake.

It was the combination of an intelligent, experienced jockey and an unusually placid horse that probably won him the race.

At the time, the result was seen as a disaster and an embarrassing fiasco. 50 years on, Foinavon’s win seems an iconic moment in the history of the great race.

It was about luck, fate, the victory of the outsider, the 100 – 1 dream come true.

Not for nothing was the first winner of the Grand National called Lottery and there is an equally good reason why the 7th and 23rd fence is now known as Foinavon.

For more information about Randox Horse Tales please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com


2017 Randox Health Grand National Trophy Statue unveiled at Aintree Racecourse

A giant replica of the 2017 Randox Health Grand National trophy is being installed at Aintree Racecourse ahead of the world’s greatest horse race. The design was unveiled for the first time today during the Northern media lunch.

The statue standing at almost 6 meters, which will be seen by over 600 million people during the three day festival, depicts the same level of detail as the real trophy. The stunning piece is solid silver gilded with gold, and depicts horses galloping through strands of DNA.

A spot will be marked out near the statute directing race-goers where to stand to get a picture of them ‘holding’ the trophy. It is part of Randox Health’s plan to get the nation to #FeelLikeAWinner during the festival, even if they won’t be at Aintree. They hope people at the racecourse will share the trophy images on social media with people at home posting selfies with their cherished trophies!

Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox Health, commented;

“With the Randox Health Grand National being the greatest horse race in the world we wanted to give everyone a chance to feel like a winner throughout the festival. We’re very proud of the trophy and its one people can enjoy too. We want to give everybody the opportunity to feel part of this year’s festival even if they’re not here, which is why we’re encouraging them to share their own trophy selfies with the racing fans at Aintree. The Randox Health Grand National is a national occasion we want to share and we hope that we can encourage that.”

John Baker, Managing Director for Aintree Racecourse, commented;

“We’re delighted and honoured to work with Randox as a long term partner and we look forward to many years of success. With less than three weeks to go until the Randox Health Grand National Festival, we’re in great shape with the Aintree site looking tremendous and ticket sales going very well. We’re anticipating three days of thrilling racing with high quality entries and we look forward to plenty of fun and excitement off the track as well. The Aintree and Randox teams are working extremely hard to put on the best possible experience for our racegoers so we look forward to opening the gates on Thursday 6 April and welcoming everyone for a fantastic three days.”

The official reveal of the trophy statue has come after the announcement that for each of its five years of sponsorship, Randox Health, the title partner of the Randox Health Grand National, will create a unique winner’s trophy, and each member of the winning team – trainer, jockey and groom – will receive their own trophy in recognition of the teamwork that goes into achieving such monumental success.

The coveted trophy was unveiled by Sir Anthony McCoy and Dr Peter FitzGerald at the Weights Evening Reception at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

For more information about Randox Health Grand National Horse please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com


Randox Horse Tales | Katie Walsh on the partnership with Seabass that made her the most successful female jockey of all time

With less than three weeks’ to go before the Randox Health Grand National, we’re really starting to feel the excitement!

Those who’ve ridden over the famous fences at Aintree never forget it. The most successful female jockey of all time, Katie Walsh, shares her memories of Seabass in the 2012 Grand National, when she came third.

I remember every single bit of it. You don’t forget things like that.

It was a fantastic time and I had some brilliant months in the lead up to it. I won a couple of good races in the build up to the Grand National.

And for Seabass to be the horse that I rode that day, made it all the more magical. This is definitely at the top of my list.

He’d been trained by my father and we’ve been involved with horses for so long that we know how hard it is to have a horse for the Grand National – things can change every day.  It’s like someone saying, “I’m going to be President.” That’s how slim the chances are for it to all work out, so I really appreciate how lucky we were to be there.

Seabass is a gorgeous horse and I absolutely love him.

The biggest difficulty we had was keeping him sound.  Seabass was a lovely horse but he wasn’t the easiest to keep sound. You see that a lot in elite athletes – sometimes it’s just incredibly difficult to stay fit. And to be in with a shot of getting into the National, you have to keep a horse high enough in the handicaps so it’s constant work – you’ve got to be really careful what you do and how you treat them.

If you look back at his record, Seabass was off for a couple of seasons simply because he has legs of glass, he’s really fragile. There were many different problems over the years which had to be treated and we did a lot of swimming with him. A lot a lot of work went into minding his legs!

The actual race – I could tell you every moment. It was like a dream, the whole ride was fantastic and everything worked out super! Seabass travelled so well – it was a competitive year that year and on another he might have won.

But I was over the moon when we crossed the line in third.

It meant a lot to people that a female jockey had done so well. It featured heavily in the interviews I did afterwards and still does to be honest.

The whole family were there– Ruby wasn’t actually riding himself that day, he’d had a fall earlier. So they were all watching. We’re a pretty special unit – very close – and they were thrilled for us.

Once it was over though, I went straight into the usual routine. In fact I jumped in the car and went to Newmarket. Life goes on!

But once you’ve achieved something like that in the Grand National life does change. Off the back of it I became an Aintree ambassador which is a huge honour and something that I absolutely love.

I can’t wait for the Randox Health Grand National this year!

For more information about Randox Horse Tales please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com


Randox Horse Tales | Oliver Sherwood shares his memories of Many Clouds, The People’s Horse

There was only one horse that Oliver Sherwood wanted to write about when he was asked to take part in Horse Tales – his 2015 Grand National winner Many Clouds. He was the horse of a lifetime for the Lambourn-based trainer who was hooked the moment he saw him. Clouds tragically died earlier this year and Sherwood says he misses him every day.

The minute I saw him, I knew there was something special. Of course, we all think that. But there was something about Clouds that I just liked from the start.

I had come to look over Mr Hemmings’ young horses when I first saw Clouds. He was a raw, barely broken three year old, and I saw an individualism about him, a character that appealed. From that moment I wanted to be the one to train him.

I’m sure other trainers saw Clouds’ potential too but every time I went to Mr Hemmings’ place, I’d mention to Mick Meagher, the manager, how much I liked him. However I really didn’t expect to get him, so when Mr Hemmings started allocating his horses and Mick called to say they were sending him to me, I was surprised and delighted. 

When we started the serious training, I thought he was above average. You can’t be certain – I’ve seen before how horses show form but then can’t perform on the racecourse. That didn’t happen with Clouds. He won on his debut at Wetherby in February 2012, crossing the line 10-15 lengths in front. Right then I knew my gut had been right – he was going to be special. I started hoping and planning for the Hennessey Gold Cup.

He had a summer holiday after that and thickened out. When he came back, he won a handful of hurdles, and came second in the EDF Final the Saturday before Cheltenham, carrying top weight. We were certain that hurdles would be a stepping stone for him.

He was a natural chaser. In 2014 – 15 he won at Carlisle and then won the Hennessey. The rest is history. He won at Cheltenham in January though disappointed in the Gold Cup. But then he won at Aintree in 2015 and that put him on a different level.

As with so many fairy tales from the National, it was unexpected. I’d thought it was too soon for him, but I was persuaded to give it a go. It was a sensational victory. It was the second fastest time – 8 minutes 56.8 seconds, and he did it with 11 stone 9 pounds – almost the top weight. In fact no other horse had carried a higher weight and won at Aintree since Red Rum in ’74. His jockey – Leighton Aspell – said it was the best ride he’d ever had over the fences.

I was staggered by how worldwide the National is. For many trainers you want to win the Gold Cup, it’s the 100m sprint, but when I was being interviewed for the first time by broadcasters in Australia, the US and Japan after winning in 2015, they saw it as the pinnacle.

One thing is absolutely true though – you’ll never forget it. You try to explain to people who have never had horses – but you simply can’t express the thrill of seeing your horse in your colours pass the finishing post in the lead. It was Sir Fred Pontin trying to get that across to Mr Hemmings that got him into racing in the first place. He’d won with Specify in 1971, and showed Mr Hemmings the trophy. He ended up bequeathing it to him in his will – by which stage Mr Hemmings had already won one himself with Hedgehunter.

God puts you on this planet and you are what you are. Clouds, he was a performer, a competitor. He loved to race. He was a nervous horse, a bit spooky but he got more confident as he grew older. He was the proverbial gentle giant, he always wanted to please. He loved his work, he was always very keen to get out and race. Leighton was the only one who schooled and raced him.

Clouds’ last race was his best ever performance. He won by a head in a photo-finish in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham but suddenly suffered a severe pulmonary haemorrhage and despite the best efforts of the team on the course, he died just afterwards.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the reaction from people. There have been over a thousand letters – never mind emails and Facebook messages – from all over the world. My wife has responded to every single one of them. People responded to him- they saw he was a trier and they loved that. People could relate to him – in a way he became the people’s horse.

When he won at Aintree thousands of people came out to see him when he came home. Everyone celebrated his win, and that depth of feeling continues today. Our local open day has been renamed after him, and in the village a bench will be placed in his memory thanks to the local council and the Jockey Club. At a party on Saturday here, we still had kids coming up and asking about Clouds. It’s just staggering the impact he had and the inspiration he gave to so many. I am certain he’s bringing a lot of new people into racing.

He was cremated and his ashes were returned to the Isle of Man where Mr Hemmings lives. His shoes will be mounted on a wooden plaque, and his best races inscribed on it. We’ve still got the plaque which was mounted on his box after the won the Grand National.

I’ll never forget Clouds. He will always be in my memories and those of the whole team here in Rhonehurst. Yet I’m glad he went out on a high. I’d rather that than have him suffer an injury. Death happens to us all – I would love to go as he did.

For more information about Randox Horse Tales please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com


Randox Horse Tales | Mike Hughes and “The Greatest Horse of Aintree”

This week in the third edition of Horse Tales we are thrilled to hear from Mike Hughes,  Sports Broadcast Journalist for BBC Radio Merseyside.

Mike talks about Red Rum, “The Greatest Horse of Aintree,” and how the race conditions have changed since the millennium bringing with them the best chasers competing to win the world’s most famous race:

Even a cursory glance down the list of previous Grand National winners will highlight some seriously talented racehorses. Factor in the way the race conditions have changed since the new millennium, not to mention the incredible prize money on offer, then it’s not surprising that the very best chasers around are now competing to win the world’s most famous race.

But whatever the future holds for the race that sits at the centrepiece of the three day Aintree festival, there will only ever be one horse that can lay claim to being “The Greatest” that the famous old course has ever seen.

The Red Rum story is a remarkable one by any sporting standards. His love affair with the Grand National knew no bounds. In 1973 he came from “another parish” to pounce and steal victory on the run-in from Australian wonder horse Crisp. He became a National Hero from that point onwards. He broke the course record that year and the time has only been bettered once since.

Red Rum defended his Grand National title in 1974 with an incredible performance. Under the guidance of Brian Fletcher, he pretty much cruised around Aintree as if he owned the joint. He won the race with a swagger and poise that hasn’t been seen since. It was also an outstanding weight carrying performance. Red Rum was top weight in 1974. No horse carrying top weight has won it since.

In the 1975 & 1975 Grand National’s Red Rum was a gallant second. Firstly running a previous Gold Cup winner L’escargot close and then finishing runner up to the well handicapped Rag Trade.

By the time of the 1977 Grand National surely the passing of the years would diminish the chances of another Aintree ” day to remember” for Red Rum. Despite carrying another welter burden and being now aged 12, he put in yet another display of near faultless jumping over the toughest of fences and delivered another emphatic Grand National success. The only horse to win the race three times.

The courage of the horse is highlighted by the fact that he was engaged to run in the Grand National in 1978, but withdrew on the eve of the race due to a minor injury.

If the romantic notion of a horse who was housed in a stable behind a used car showroom in Southport, isn’t enough to convince you of Red Rum’s place in the pantheon of sporting greats then consider this.

If it wasn’t for Red Rum, then the Grand National as a sporting spectacle beyond compare, would probably not exist.

Red Rum and his loveable and outrageous trainer Ginger McCain began writing folklore history at the very same time that the world’s greatest race was under real threat of losing its Aintree home. The owners of the course in the mid 70’s were The Walton Group, property developers who outlined various proposals for Aintree, none of which would have allowed the Grand National to continue.

Red Rum became the popular galvanising force that made ordinary people take notice of this once a year event again. He was the horse and the story that put the Grand National back on the front pages of the world’s newspapers.

When we remember this year as the fortieth anniversary of Red Rum’s third and final Grand National victory we need also to think back ten years earlier, April 7th 1967. It was the horse’s first ever Aintree appearance, as a two year old in a five furlong flat race. Red Rum was never known for his flat racing pedigree, but this was the day he fell in love with this very special racecourse. He dead-heated for first place.

Red Rum’s record and his place in history means that he really is “The Greatest Horse of Aintree”

For more information about Randox Horse Tales please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com


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