The Grand National & Aintree 1970-79

1976 - Rag Trade`s year


Leading Fancies

With L`Escargot earning an honourable retirement RED RUM returned to Aintree without his old adversary to worry about. Although campaigned in the usual way he was without a win in eight starts and was clearly no longer showing anything like his Aintree form over conventional birch fences. After a lacklustre display at Newcastle regular jockey Brian Fletcher was replaced by the popular Tommy Stack who had ironically briefly trained the horse before his move to McCain. Favouritism went to the Roddy Armtage trained BARONA who had had his rider pulled off at first Bechers the previous year but had gained some compensation when landing the Scottish Grand National a week later. This year he was without a win but had finished second to the subsequent Gold Cup winner Royal Frolic in the Greenall Whitley Breweries Chase at Haydock. Stamina would not be a problem for debutant JOLLY`S CLUMP who had won two valuable long distance chases at the turn of the year, the Bass Handicap at Cheltenham and the Warwick National . Another making his first trip to Aintree was TREGARRON who had won four of his last five starts at Market Rasen, Catterick (twice) and Ayr. The Irish trained grey PROLAN attracted a lot of support following his win in the Kim Muir Memorial Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and another in good form was the recently purchased GOLDEN RAPPER who had won the valuable Leopardstown Chase when trained in Ireland. Of those that had run well in 1975 both THE DIKLER who had just run in his sixth consecutive Gold Cup and SPANISH STEPS were considered at thirteen to be too old to have a realistic chance but MONEY MARKET was in the form of his life winning a second consecutive Peter Cazalet/Mildmay Memorial at Sandown and in the Gold Cup he had made most of the running before fading to finish fourth. One horse however who had not had a happy 1975 was RAG TRADE who had trailed in the rear for the whole race before finishing a distant last of the ten finishers. He had changed stables and now in the hands of Fred Rimell he had won a very competitive Welsh National (his second "National" having won the Midlands equivalent at the end of 1975) . His jockey John Burke had high hopes of of a famous double having partnered Royal Frolic to his victory at Cheltenham.

Incidentally this was the first year I started cutting out the racecard in the newspaper, the first year of my racing scrapbook (I was eight years old - how sad is that ?) - I still have it somewhere. I think this is where the obsession with collecting all things National-related began.

The Anoraks Selection : RED RUM.

Each-way choice : HIGH KEN

NEWS OF THE  WORLD GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE (76 entries) 4 1/2 miles, £37,420 to the winner, £11,410 to the second, £5,630 to the third & £2,740 to the fourth

 1 U30300 RED RUM  11, 10-10 D.McCain T.Stack 
 2 322030 THE DICKLER  13, 11-7 F T Walwyn R.Barry 
 3 414230 GLANDFORD BRIGG  10, 11-3 J.Hardy M.Blackshaw 
 4  431404 MONEY MARKET  9, 11-0 C.Bewicke R.Champion 
 5 20UP02 HIGH KEN  10, 10-12 J A C Edwards M.Dickinson 
 61-P04F1 RAG TRADE  10, 10-12 T F Rimell J.Burke 
 7 333333 HIGHWAY VIEW  11, 10-10 J.Cox - IRE P.Black 
 9 214020 ROMAN BAR  7, 10-10 P.Taaffe - IRE G.Newman 
10 41-0121 GOLDEN RAPPER  10, 10-8 F T Winter J.Francome 
11  2132P4 EYECATCHER  10, 10-7 J R Bosley B.Fletcher 
12 3-02332 BARONA  10, 10-6 R C ArmytageP.Kellaway 
13 121-221 CEOL-NA-MARA  7, 10-6 S.Mellor J.Glover 
14  11321F CHURCHTOWN BOY  9, 10-6 M.Salaman M.Salaman 
15  330100 PERPOL  10, 10-6 W.Charles K B White 
16  141221 PROLAN  7, 10-3 E J O`Grady - IRE M F Morris 
18 4-12211 JOLLY`S CLUMP  10, 10-3* H Thomson-Jones I.Watkinson 
19  030214 MERRY MAKER  11, 10-2 G C Doidge Mr A Mildmay-White 
20  212111 TREGARRON  9, 10-1 J K M Oliver C.Tinkler 
21  FU14U2 BLACK TUDOR  8, 10-0 G.Kindersley G.Thorner 
22 00-1041 NEREO  10, 10-1* F T Winter Duke of Alberquerque 
23  110304 COLONDINE  9, 10-0 I M Dudgeon B.Forsey 
24 F-0301P HUPERADE  12, 10-4* G R Owen Mr J Carden 
26  013203 SPANISH STEPS  13, 10-2* E R Courage J.King 
27  30221U MERIDIAN II  9, 10-0 D.McCain J J O`Neill 
28  340404 SANDWILAN  8, 10-0 J S Wright R.Hyett 
29  22U200 TUDOR VIEW  10, 10-0 P J Upton C.Read 
32  30F211 BALLYBRIGHT  9, 10-0 F.Cundell Mr S Morshead 
33 2234P4SPITTIN IMAGE  10, 10-0M J ScudamoreA.Turnell
34 12-1F00 INDIAN DIVA  9, 10-3* M J Thorne Mr N Henderson 
35  0000P0 THOMOND  11, 10-3* Miss T Pearson Mr A J Wilson 
36  224301 BOOM DOCKER  9, 10-0 D.Marks John Williams 

S.P : 7-1 Barona, 10-1 Red Rum, 12-1 Jolly`s Clump, Money Market & Tregarron, 13-1 Prolan, 14-1 RAG TADE, 22-1 Ceol-na-Mara & Spanish Steps, 25-1 The Dickler, 28-1 Eyecatcher, Glandford Brigg & Golden Rapper, 33-1 Churchtown Boy, High Ken, Highway View, Meridian II & Roman Bar, 50-1 Black Tudor, Boom Docker, Merry Maker & Nereo, 60-1 Colondine, 66-1 Perpol & Spittin Image, 80-1 Ballybright, 100-1 Huperade, Indian Diva, Ormonde Tudor, Sandwilan & Tudor View

Aintree debutants (20)

Ballybright*, Black Tudor*, Boom Docker, Ceol-Na-Mara*, Churchtown Boy, Colondine*, Golden Rapper*, Highway View*, Indian Diva*, Jollys Clump*, Meridian II*, Merry Maker*, Ormonde Tudor*, Perpol*, Prolan*, Roman Bar, Sandwilan, Spittin Image, Thomond*, Tregarron* 

Winner at Aintree

Red RumGrand National (1973 & 1974) 


1st RAG TRADE John Burke 
2nd RED RUM Tommy Stack 
3rd EYECATCHER Brian Fletcher 
4th BARONA Paul Kelleway 
5th CEOL-NA-MARA J.Glover 
6th THE DICKLER Ron Barry 
7th SANDWILAN R.Hyett 
8th SPITTIN IMAGE Andy Turnell 
9th SPANISH STEPS Jeff King 
10th BLACK TUDOR Graham Thorner 
11th CHURCHTOWN BOY Taffy Salaman 
12th HIGHWAY VIEW P.Black 
13th JOLLY`S CLUMP Ian Watkinson 
14th MONEY MARKET Bob Champion 
15th COLONDINE Brian Forsey 
16th INDIAN DIVA Mr Nicky Henderson 

Time : 9 minutes 20.9 secs

Distances : 2-8-3-2 1/2-10

Owned by Pierre Raymond

Trained by Fred Rimell at Kinnersley, Worcestershire 

 The winner

The fates were not kind to Rag Trade. A leg injury restricted him to just two starts in 1976-77 and his season was over after he fell in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup. Amid acrimony between his co-owners he was moved from Fred Rimells yard and returned to George Fairburn for the next season. Having been off the course for over fourteen months he returned to action in a three runner race at Teesside Park finishing a distant last behind the useful Broncho II. He won his next start (also at the defunct course) and on the back of that victory he started favourite for his third National in 1978. It was a sad end to a fine horse. Never with the leaders he broke down so badly on the second circuit that the racecourse vets could not save him and he was put down. 

1977 - Red Rum`s third year


Leading fancies

For the first time since 1946 the current Cheltenham Gold Cup winner lined up at Aintree. The Irish trained DAVY LAD had been considered a  very lucky winner in a race of tragedy and misfortune where all the market leaders had come to grief. Even if he was considered a below par Gold Cup winner he was still a very capable animal who had been campaigned in the highest quality over the past two seasons. RED RUM had returned to winning ways at Carlisle in October but had disappointed in his two prep races, the Grand National Trial and the Greenall Whitley Breweries Chase at Haydock. Favourite was the Fred Rimell trained ANDY PANDY, formerly trained in Ireland he had won the Charissma Gold Cup at Kempton and had beaten Red Rum by no less than forty lengths in the National Trial. In the absence through injury of 1976 hero Rag Trade the Rimell/Burke combination had a more than adequate replacement. Others to note included GAY VULGAN who had run up a sequence of five wins including the Bass Handicap Chase at Cheltenham over four miles in January and the National Hunt Handicap Chase at the Festival. One of my favourite horses in training at the time was the top class ZETA`S SON who had fallen at Bechers in the 1976 Topham and had then disappointed when fancied for the Irish National. However this year he had won the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup and the Mildmay Memorial Chase at Sandown. Aintree debutant SEBASTIAN V was the hope of Scotland having been running well in long distance chases. CHURCHTOWN BOY had run well to finish in 1976 and was looking to become the first horse to win the elusive Topham Trophy/Grand National double having won a competitive Topham  two days earlier. Mention should also be made of one outsider, a hunter chaser called  BARONY FORT from Essex. He was making history as he was to be partnered by Charlotte Brew who was the first lady rider  to line up in the race. Their hopes were non-existent and despite the massive publicity the challenge generated their best hope was of completing quietly out of harms way.

The Anoraks selection : ANDY PANDY

Each-way Choice : ZETA`S SON 

NEWS OF THE WORLD GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE 4 1/2 miles £41,140 to the winner, £12,520 to the second, £6,160 to the third & £2,980 to the fourth 

 1 033300 RED RUM  12, 11-8 D.McCain T.Stack 
 2 030200 WHAT A BUCK  10, 11-4 D.Nicholson J.King 
 3 113103 ZETA`S SON  8, 11-4 P.Bailey M F Morris 
 4 332321 DAVY LAD  7, 10-13 M O`Toole - IRE D T Hughes 
 5 100004 FOREST KING  8, 10-12 K.Hogg R.Crank 
 6 2144F2 ROMAN BAR  8, 10-10 P.Taaffe - IRE P.Kiely 
 7 /0-1111 GAY VULGAN  9, 10-8 F T Walwyn W.Smith 
 842-0332 PENGRAIL  9, 10-8 F T WinterR.Atkins 
 9 211041 ANDY PANDY  8, 10-7 T F Rimell J.Burke 
10  412232 PRINCE ROCK  9, 10-6 P.Bailey G.Thorner 
11  41F013 WAR BONNET  9, 10-6 J.Dreaper - IRET.Carberry 
12 14-P212 WINTER RAIN  9, 10-6 A.Dickinson M.Dickinson 
13  011301 HIGH KEN  11, 11-3* J A C EdwardsMr J Edwards 
14 02011-3 HIDDEN VALUE  9, 10-4 S G NortonJ.Bourke 
15  3P4022 THE PILGARLIC  9, 10-4 T F Rimell R R Evans 
16  311124 SIR GARNET  8, 10-3 G W RichardsJ J O`Neill 
17  21220F BROWN ADMIRAL  8, 10-1 T F Rimell S.Morshead 
18  010303 COLLINGWOOD  11, 10-1 Capt N F Crump C.Hawkins 
19 P0-004P DUFFLE COAT  9, 10-4* M.Morley B R Davies 
20  P24033 EYECATCHER  11, 10-1 J R Bosley C.Read 
21 40-F2P0 LORD OF THE HILLS  10, 10-1 R.Bastiman  D.Goulding 
22 130-F40 NEREO  11, 10-0 F T Winter R.Kington 
23 1F0-U21 SAGE MERLIN  9, 10-5* J D Bingham I.Watkinson 
24  034000 BOOM DOCKER  10, 10-0 D.Marks J.Williams 
25  0F203F CARROLL STREET  10, 10-0 G B Balding R.Linley 
26  030010 CASTLERUDDERY  11, 10-0P.McCreery - IRE L.O`Donnell 
27  111400 SAUCEY BELLE  11, 10-0 R E Peacock R F Davies 
28  433P21 CHURCHTOWN BOY  10, 10-0 M.Salaman M.Blackshaw 
29  010F44 HARBAN  8, 10-0 F.Flood - IRE  F.Berry 
30  443203 SEBASTIAN V  9, 10-1* C H Bell R.Lamb 
31  001F20 ROYAL THRUST  8, 10-0 T F Rimell C.Tinkler 
32 21-PPF0 HAPPY RANGER  10, 10-5* J.Thorne P.Blacker 
33  F34042 BURRATOR  8, 10-0 A  P Jarvis Mr J Docker 
34 0-43000 SANDWILAN  9, 10-0 J S Wright R.Hyett 
35 31P-U03 FORESAIL  10, 10-0 M C Chapman G.Holmes 
37  P00000 INNYCARRA  10, 10-0 C FryerS.Jobar 
38 0-02304 SPITTIN IMAGE  11, 10-5* M.Scudamore R.Champion 
39 4-20341 WILLY WHAT  8, 10-0 S.Mellor J.Glover 
40  303002 FORT VULGAN  9, 10-0 J K M Oliver N.Tinkler 
41  /044P-0 BARONY FORT  12, 10-1* Charlotte Brew Miss C Brew 
42  U4P00P HUPERADE  13, 10-7* J.CardenMr J Carden 
44 00P-04F THE SONGWRITER  8, 10-0 Mrs J Pitman B.Smart 

S.P : 15-2 Andy Pandy, 9-1 Gay Vulgan & RED RUM, 10-1 Davy Lad, 15-1 Pengrail, 16-1 War Bonnet & Winter Rain, 18-1 Eyecatcher, Prince Rock & Zetas Son, 20-1 Churchtown Boy, Sage Merlin, Sir Garnet & What A Buck, 22-1 Sebastian V, 25-1 Roman Bar, 28-1 Brown Admiral, 33-1 Forest King, 40-1 Castleruddery, Hidden Value & The Pilgarlic, 50-1 Burrator, Carroll Street, Collingwood, Fort Vulgan, High Ken, Sandwilan, Spittin Image & Willy What, 66-1 Boom Docker, Happy Ranger & Harban, 100-1 Duffle Coat, Foresail, Inycara, Lord of the Hills, Nereo & Royal Thrust, 200-1 Barony Fort, Huperade, Saucey Belle & The Songwriter

Aintree debutants (27)

Andy Pandy, Brown Admiral, Burrator, Carroll Street*, Collingwood*, Davy Lad*, Duffle Coat*, Foresail*, Forest King*, Fort Vulgan*, Gay Vulgan*, Happy Ranger*, Harban, Hidden Value, Inycarra*, Lord of the Hills*, Pengrail*, Prince Rock, Royal Thrust*, Sage Merlin*, Saucey Belle*, Sebastian V, Sir Garnet*, The Songwriter, War Bonnet, What A Buck*, Willy What 

Winners at Aintree

Churchtown Boy Topham Trophy (1977) 
Red Rum Grand National (1973 & 1974) 


1st RED RUM Tommy Stack 
2nd CHURCHTOWN BOY Martin Blackshaw 
3rd EYECATCHER Chris Read 
4th THE PILGARLIC Richard Evans 
5th FOREST KING Reg Crank 
6thWHAT A BUCK Jeff King 
7th HAPPY RANGER Philip Blacker 
8th CARROLL STREET Richard Linley 
9th COLLINGWOOD Colin Hawkins 
10th HIDDEN VALUE (rem) Jimmy Bourke 
11th SAUCEY BELLE (rem) R F Davies 

Time : 9 minutes, 30.3 secs

Distances : 25-6-8-4-4

Owned by Noel le Mare

Trained by Donald "Ginger" McCain at Southport, Lancashire 

The winner

Red Rum`s third victory made history and earned him superstar status. He became the most famous racehorse of all time and he stayed in training for one final attempt at the National. Sadly it was not to be. On the eve of the race he was found to be slightly lame after his final work out on the Southport sands and his devoted trainer immediately announced his retirement. The news made headlines throughout the world and to a degree completely overshadowed the actual race itself. Red Rum spent his retirement opening supermarkets, betting shops and making personal appearances. In 1977 he officially switched on the Blackpool Illuminations (although how he managed to get his hoof to flick the switch is a bit of a mystery). He is the only animal to my knowledge to put in an appearance on the BBCs Sports Personality of the Year award. In 2002 his third National triumph came twenty first in a poll of the hundred greatest sporting moments of all time. He was never happier though then when he came to Aintree on Grand National day leading the parade for the first time in 1978 and continuing to do so until 1994. He made one final visit to Aintree in May 1995 when the racecourse put on a special race meeting to celebrate his thirtieth birthday. He died on 18th October 1995 and fittingly is buried by the winning post at Aintree. A legend. We have never seen his like since and to be honest we probably never will.