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Red Rum trainer Ginger McCain dies at 80

October 10, 2011

Ginger McCain, the four-time Aintree Grand National winning trainer, has died aged 80 after a long illness.

The Southport-born former taxi driver was highly regarded in the sport for a remarkable talent for spotting and training winners.

McCain’s greatest achievement was the three-time winner Red Rum, who became a national celebrity in the 1970s, but he had to wait nearly thirty years for Amberleigh House to win in 2004.

Tributes have poured in…..

Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain was born in Southport on 21st September 1930 and started riding horses at the age of 14.

After he left school he worked as a taxi driver – a job once took him to Blackpool with demanding crooner Frank Sinatra in search of a hairbrush.

He continued to work as a taxi driver when he started tr5aining horses in 1962 from stables behind a used car store in Southport.

Ginger famously used the beaches to train his horses and found his first winner at the age of 35.

Beryl McCain, whom Ginger married in 1961, threatened to leave her husband when she saw the 14 year-old San Lorenzo, but the horse went on to win a selling Chase in Liverpool.

But history was made when an ambitious trainer saw the potential in a sick horse nobody wanted.

Red Rum, the most famous horse ever to jump the fences at Aintree, had a lacklustre beginning.

Finishing in a dead-heat with Curlicue in a five furlong seller in 1967, Red Rum was sold for 300 guineas and his form continued to drop.

Ginger saw winning potential in the horse and made his greatest investment in 1972 for his client Noel La Mare at the Doncaster Sales auction for 6000 guineas.

Red Rum was taken back to Southport to train and the saltwater of the Irish sea healed his peritonis within months.

“Rummy” went on to win three Grand Nationals in 1973, 1974 and 1977 going on to become a national celebrity.

He was retired in 1978 after suffering hairline fracture and his death in 1995 made front-page national news.

Ginger had to wait 27 years after Red Rum’s retirement for another winner at Aintree, with Amberleigh House in 2004.

Donald McCain Jr took over the reins of his father’s training legacy when Ginger retired in 2006.

Donald has continued the McCain winning tradition with the 2011 winner Ballabriggs.

Up until his death, Ginger was an outspoken commentator on horse-racing and his passion never waned. He often appeared at the Grand National in support of his son and for the love of the sport.

Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain leaves his wife Beryl and children Joanne and Donald Jr.