When it comes to Southport’s connection to the Grand National held at Aintree, Sefton each year, Red Rum and his trainer Ginger McCain are as firmly rooted in the history of the race, as well as being a local legend for many.
Trainer Ginger McCain began training horses in 1962, using small stables located behind his used car showroom on Upper Aughton Road in Birkdale. As a teenager, comedian Lee Mack worked as a stable boy for McCain. Legend has it that his first horse riding lesson was on Red Rum!
After being passed from training ground to training ground, Ginger McCain bought him from a client and was often seen riding him along Southport beach. Red Rum suffered from a debilitating condition known as pedal osteitis, an incurable bone disease in his hoof. It is thought that the sea water was highly beneficial for his hooves and it is claimed that McCain took Red Rum for a therapeutic swim in the sea before his Grand National appearances.
Red Rum is the only horse to ever win the treble at the Grand National race, in 1973, 1974 and 1977 – Red Rum also managed to achieve second place in both 1975 and 1976
His historic wins cemented Red Rum’s place as a national legend, so much so that he even switched on the Blackpool Illuminations in 1977!
If you are visiting Southport, there is a solid bronze statue of Red Rum in Wayfarers Shopping Arcade and more recently a piece of outdoor art commissioned by Sefton Council for the Borough of Culture year in 2020.