1977 Grand National

The 1977 Grand National (officially known as the News of the World Grand National for sponsorship reasons)[1] was the 131st renewal of the Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 2 April 1977.[2]

1977 Grand National
Grand National
LocationAintree Racecourse
Date2 April 1977
Winning horseRepublic of Ireland Red Rum
Starting price9/1 JF
JockeyRepublic of Ireland Tommy Stack
TrainerEngland Ginger McCain
OwnerEngland Noel Le Mare
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1978 →
External video
video icon The 1977 Grand National in full (BBC)
video icon 1977 Grand National in full (BBC)

The race is best remembered for being Red Rum's third Grand National win, a record that still stands today. He completed the course in 9 minutes 30.3 seconds and went off as 9/1 joint-favourite.

He's getting the most tremendous cheer from the crowd. They're willing him home now. The 12-year-old Red Rum, being preceded only by loose horses, being chased by Churchtown Boy Eyecatcher has moved into third. The Pilgarlic is fourth. They're coming to the elbow, there's a furlong now between Red Rum and his third Grand National triumph! And he's coming up to the line, to win it like a fresh horse in great style. It's hats off and a tremendous reception, you've never heard one like it at Liverpool. Red Rum wins the National.

Commentator Peter O'Sullevan describes Red Rum's record third Grand National win


Before the race, Red Rum was generally thought too old — at the age of 12 — to win the Grand National for a third time, having come home first in 1973 and 1974, and second in 1975 and 1976. However, being ridden by jockey Tommy Stack for the second consecutive National, the gelding clinched his unprecedented third title, bringing his career earnings to a then steeplechasing record of £114,000.[2]

Red Rum's 1976/77 season had begun badly. After an initial small win at Carlisle he appeared lacklustre in his next four races, and trainer Ginger McCain lost confidence in him. However, the horse finally returned somewhat to his best form when coming sixth in his preparatory race to the 1977 Grand National, the Greenall Whitley Chase at Haydock. In his last gallop before the National, he was back in fine form.[3]

Red Rum was given the top weight for Aintree, but it had dropped to 11 stone 8 lb.

Race overviewEdit

A large portion of the 42-strong field was eliminated from the race on the first circuit: 19 had fallen or unseated their riders before the second circuit, including seven at the first fence. Going onto the second round, Boom Docker held a significant lead (the biggest going onto the second circuit in Grand National history) but he refused to jump the 17th fence.

It was not until Becher's Brook (the 22nd) that Red Rum went into first position, when the leader and pre-race favourite, Andy Pandy, fell. Red Rum's lead grew gradually, and he came home 25 lengths ahead of second-placed Churchtown Boy and the mare Eyecatcher in third. Eleven of the 42 runners completed the course.[2] Churchtown Boy had won the Topham Trophy over the national fences just two days earlier when ridden by Chris Read, who finished third in this race on Eyecatcher.[4]

The 1977 National was also notable for being the first in which a female jockey participated. Twenty-one-year-old Charlotte Brew nearly completed the race, though she was a long way behind the leaders. Her horse, Barony Fort, refused at the 27th fence.[2]

Hidden Value had fallen at the 26th and was remounted to finish 10th whilst Saucey Belle had fallen at the 22nd and was remounted to finish last.

Finishing orderEdit

Position Name Jockey Age Handicap (st-lb) SP Distance
1st Red Rum Tommy Stack 12 11-8 9/1
2nd Churchtown Boy Martin Blackshaw 10 10-0 20/1
3rd Eyecatcher Chris Read 11 10-1 18/1
4th The Pilgarlic Richard Evans 9 10-4 40/1
5th Forest King Reg Crank 8 10-2 33/1
6th What A Buck Jeff King 10 11-4 20/1
7th Happy Ranger Philip Blacker 10 10-5 66/1
8th Carroll Street Richard Linley 10 10-0 50/1
9th Collingwood Colin Hawkins 11 10-0 50/1
10th Hidden Value Jimmy Bourke 9 10-4 40/1
11th Saucey Belle Roy Davies 11 10-0 200/1 Last to finish


There were two equine fatalities during the race. Winter Rain fell at Becher's Brook on the first circuit and Zeta's Son at Valentine's second time around; both were later euthanised.

Fence Name Jockey Age Handicap (st-lb) Starting price Fate
01 Duffle Coat Bob Davies 9 10-4 100/1 Fell
01 High Ken John Edwards 11 11-3 50/1 Brought down
01 Huperade John Carden 13 10-7 200/1 Unseated rider
01 Pengrail Ron Atkins 9 10-8 15/1 Fell
01 Spittin' Image Bob Champion 11 10-5 50/1 Fell
01 War Bonnet Tommy Carberry 9 10-6 16/1 Fell
01 Willy What Jeremy Glover 8 10-0 50/1 Fell
03 (Open Ditch) Burrator John Docker 8 10-0 50/1 Fell
03 (Open Ditch) Davy Lad Dessie Hughes 7 10-3 10/1 Fell
03 (Open Ditch) Inycarra Steve Jobar 10 10-0 100/1 Fell
03 (Open Ditch) Royal Thrust Colin Tinkler 8 10-0 100/1 Fell
04 Harban Frank Berry 8 10-0 66/1 Fell
04 Fort Vulgan Nigel Tinkler 9 10-0 50/1 Brought down
06 (Becher's Brook) Castelruddery Liam O'Donnell 11 10-0 40/1 Fell
06 (Becher's Brook) Sebastian V Ridley Lamb 9 10-1 22/1 Fell
06 (Becher's Brook) Winter Rain Michael Dickinson 9 10-6 16/1 Fell
12 Prince Rock Graham Thorner 9 10-6 18/1 Fell
15 (The Chair) Sage Merlin Ian Watkinson 9 10-5 20/1 Fell
17 Boom Docker John Williams 10 10-0 66/1 Refused
18 Foresail Gordon Holmes 10 10-0 100/1 Refused
20 Roman Bar Pat Kiely 8 10-10 25/1 Fell
21 Gay Vulgan Bill Smith 9 10-8 9/1 Pulled up
21 Lord of the Hills David Goulding 10 10-1 100/1 Pulled Up
22 (Becher's Brook) Andy Pandy Barry Brown 8 10-7 15/2 F Fell
22 (Becher's Brook) Brown Admiral Sam Morshead 8 10-1 28/1 Fell
22 (Becher's Brook) Nereo Robert Kington 11 10-0 100/1 Fell
22 (Becher's Brook) The Songwriter Bryan Smart 8 10-0 200/1 Pulled Up
22 (Becher's Brook) Sandwilan Ron Hyett Refused
24 (Canal Turn) Sir Garnet Jonjo O'Neill 8 10-3 20/1 Unseated rider
25 (Valentine's) Zeta's Son Mouse Morris 8 11-4 18/1 Fell
27 (Ditch) Barony Fort Charlotte Brew 12 10-1 200/1 Refused


Media coverage and aftermathEdit

In an innovation, the BBC placed an audio microphone on one of the jockeys, opting for Graham Thorner, who was partnering Prince Rock, with a view that the rider could give viewers a verbal experience of the National. The audio, however, proved unusable as Thorner, forgetting he was wired for sound, recorded three minutes of expletive-riddled content before a final tirade of expletives signaled his twelfth-fence exit. The BBC had narrowly missed out on media history as Thorner had been a last-minute replacement for the jockey who had initially agreed to be wired up, Tommy Stack. Stack, however, changed his mind in the weighing room when he saw the equipment he was to carry. He duly weighed out without a microphone, and the opportunity for the BBC to get the thoughts of a Grand National-winning jockey while in the act of making history was lost.[8] Frank Bough presented Grand National Grandstand as regular host David Coleman was in a contract dispute with the BBC. In an historic afternoon Night Nurse and Monksfield would dead-heat in the Aintree Hurdle.


  1. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "BBC ON THIS DAY | 2 | 1977: Hat trick for Red Rum". BBC News. 2 April 1977. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Ginger McCain and Red Rum - History of The Grand National". Aintree.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 August 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Grand National 1977: Red Rum pulls off historic treble – as it happened". Guardian. 4 April 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  5. ^ "1976 & 1977 - The Grand National & Aintree 1970-79". Seventiesnationals.webs.com. 18 October 1995. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  6. ^ The Grand National : the history of the Aintree spectacular, by Stewart Peters & Bernard Parkin, ISBN 0-7524-3547-7
  7. ^ "Grand National Anorak |". freewebs.com. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  8. ^ Sporting Life Souvenir Magazine, 4 April 1987, page 24