Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tributes flood in for much loved 'Ginger' McCain

The racing world is just coming to terms with the sad news that the hugely popular Donald 'Ginger' McCain has passed away after a short illness, just a couple of days short of his 81st birthday, writes Elliot Slater.

The larger than life McCain went from being a second-hand car salesman and taxi driver in his native Southport, to being one of the most recognisable faces in British sport during the 1970s as his mighty horse Red Rum broke record after record in winning the Grand National, the world's greatest steeplechase, three times during the decade as well as finishing second on a further two occasions. As Grand National tips go, he was the best.

McCain went on to establish a new racing base at Cholmondely in Cheshire from where his son Donald Jnr. has gone on to prove himself one of the best jumps trainers in the business, but it is for those heady days in the 1970s and his beloved Red Rum that McCain will always be best remembered. Fans of Grand National betting online will never forget them.

Jenny Pitman, the first woman to train a Grand National winner said: "Ginger is just irreplaceable."

Lord Daresbury, the current chairman of Aintree racecourse, a track that was almost singlehandedly saved by the exploits of McCain and Red Rum added: "Ginger was a true National legend."

Sir Peter O'Sullevan, the 'Voice of Racing' whose commentary on Red Rum's third Grand National victory in 1977 is widely regarded as one of the greatest in sports history paid his tribute, saying, "Ginger's handling of Red Rum...was quite brilliant".

It shouldn't be forgotten that McCain won the Grand National for a fourth time as late as 2004 when his Amberleigh House proved (as if proof were needed!), that he was not just a one-horse wonder. He retired from training in 2006, (handing over the reins to his son Donald Jnr.), and remained active in the yard and on the racecourse until just a few weeks before his death.

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