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Famous Race Horses – Red Rum Part One

This article is the first of a series of articles on the great National Hunt race horse, Red Rum. The article centers on the career of the horse, and its surprising rise to fame against all odds. 

As famous race horses go, for many the first name that springs to mind is the great National Hunt race horse Red Rum.

This article will look at the amazing career of this great horse and the incredible story of his rise to fame, which came completely against all the odds, something that not many people are aware of.

In order to follow all of Red Rum’s colourful history, this article is in three parts, of which this is Part One.

Probably the most famous racehorse of all time - Red Rum.

It all started at the Rossenarra Stud in Kells in County Kilkenny, Ireland. From his Sire, a grey stallion named 'Qorum' and his Dam 'Mared' on 3 May 1965, this is where arguably the most famous race horse of all time was born.

As you may now be able to work out, by using the last three letters of the Sire and Dam's names, the bay foal was christened 'Red Rum'. It was also famously noted at a later date that it also spelt murder backwards, but this is pure coincidence.

Red Rum was bred by sprinter Martyn McEnery and it was hoped that he would eventually evolve into a decent flat racing horse, and in fact in his debut race on 7 April 1967 (funnily enough at Aintree, where he would go on to flourish) he ran in the Thursby Plate, where he finished in a dead heat with a horse called Curlicue.

As is often the case with many a famous race horses, Red Rum was considered to be an unremarkable runner to begin with. It also appeared that his sprinting days were numbered.

An Unconventional Racing Start

At a price of 400 Guineas, Red Rum the yearling was bought and broken in by former Champion Hurdle-winning jockey Tim Molony.
However, Red Rum would then be passed from yard to yard, a far cry from the famous race horse that he became.

Eventually he ended up under the ownership of a woman called Lurline Brotherton, whose sole ambition was to own the winner of the Grand National.
It was at this point that great things were expected of Red Rum (often affectionately known as 'Rummy'), but during the 1969/1970 season after having run fourteen times over hurdles, he did not record a single victory. The loss of form was a mystery.
By October 1970, Red Rum embarked on the Novice Chase Campaign and by the end of the season had won or been placed in all 13 of the chases that season. And so it appeared that perhaps his form had returned.

The Course Of Racing History Was Changed With One Decision

However, during the 1971/1972 season things again were not so easy going. the season was a tough one, and although Red Rum did record 2 victories at Catterick it was feared that he would not fulfil his potential.

A huge decision was made by Lurline Brotherton, who frustrated by Red Rum's mixed race fortunes and escalating vet bills due to the bone disease pedalostitis, she entered him for Doncaster's August Sale of 1972. 

This was to be the start of a new beginning for the soon to be famous race horse.

And so despite question marks over both his health and his form, Red Rum was bought for the sum of 6,000 Guineas on behalf of Noel le Mare. This is where the then seven-year-old would begin his long and famous tenure at car dealer Donald "Ginger" McCain's Upper Aughton Road stables in Liverpool.

At the time in the Summer of 1972Find Article, who would have thought that this would be a famous and successful partnership that would continue for the next 23 years?

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Cliff Thurston is the owner of Grosvenor Racing Club, which provides horse racing tips to its members. You can also read his renowned horse racing blog for up to date views and news. Cliff has also interviewed several high profile racing experts and these can be accessed via his sites.

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