Ginger McCain was Mr Grand National and the story of his fairytale triumphs with Red Rum would make a blockbuster movie
September 20th, 2011 at 12:11 am
Records are made to be broken. But there are some achievements that will surely last forever – and in the case of Red Rum and his trainer Ginger McCain I believe it is a racing certainty that their story will never be bettered.
Racing lost one of its greatest ever servants yesterday when Donald McCain, that was his real name, died two days short of his 81st birthday.
To many he was Mr Grand National. And his achievement in training the legendary Red Rum to win the world’s most famous race three times in 1973 1974 and 1977 – finishing second in the two years in between – is nothing short of miraculous.
It was a fairytale story with a script deserving of a blockbuster movie that began with McCain working as a Liverpool taxi driver to supplement his income.
That was how he got to know Noel Le Mare for whom he bought Red Rum for 6,000 guineas and then trained him on Southport beach to become the greatest National hero ever.
As a young boy I remember my father, an old pal of McCain, was tipped off by the charismatic trainer that he had this super horse destined to win his first national.
Red Rum romped home as the 9-1 favourite that day at the end of March 1973 – but my father had got his bet on six months earlier and his winnings were manor from heaven for a family of seven.
McCain famously went on to claim his fourth National win in 2004 with Amberleigh House, two years before retiring and passing on the reigns to his son Donald.
He is as much a part of Liverpool folklore as The Beatles and the Anfield Kop – a true legend – and I have always been a fan. From the moment Red Rum famously reigned in Crisp in the final strides of that first epic race. And the rest, as they say, is history.
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