Red Rum: The Icon
The consecutive Grand National victories in 1973 and 1974 had all but cemented Red Rum's place in the annals of horse racing history, but he wasn't done yet. Jockey Brian Fletcher again paired with Rummy for the 1975 race, but the duo were denied a third consecutive victory by 1974's runner-up L'Escargot.
Angered by comments Fletcher made to the press, Ginger McCain replaced him with jockey Tommy Stack for the 1976 race. Again, however, Red Rum finished as runner-up to Rag Trade, despite running a good race.
After two years of just missing out, it was with a sense of inevitability that McCain, Stack and Red Rum returned for the 1977 race. This time they clinched it - a historic and unmatched third victory at the world's greatest horse race, and frequently voted among the greatest sporting moments of all time. The horse trained for a defense of his crown in 1978, but was retired the day before the race after suffering a hairline fracture. His retirement - unsurprisingly - was national news.
But Rummy became something of a celebrity following his 1977 victory, and continued to make appearances around the country. He appeared on the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year awards in 1977, and also switched on the Blackpool Illuminations that year too. He even opened supermarkets!
Red Rum's association with The National and Aintree was his most enduring however. For many years, Red Rum continued to lead the Grand National parade, and when he died in 1995 he was buried at the finishing post at Aintree. His grave is still frequently visited by well-wishers, and his epitaph there reads: "Respect this place, this hallowed ground, a legend here, his rest has found, his feet would fly, our spirits soar, he earned our love for evermore".
Many racing pundits share the view of jockey Tony McCoy, who said in The Telegraph in 2011 on Ginger McCain's death that his and Red Rum's achievements "will never be equalled, let alone surpassed. They say records are there to be broken, but Red Rum’s at Aintree is one which will stand the test of time."