Red Rum flying the flag for Grand National in People’s Champion vote

Last Updated 6 Sep 2023 | By Enda McElhinney | Commercial content | 18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply | Wagering

Image via @AtTheRaces on X

The Aintree legend that is Red Rum is flying the flag proudly for the Grand National ahead of the final of The People’s Champion, the competition to be crowned the Racing Post readers’ favourite ever racehorse.

The trade paper has conducted a series of heats, decided by public voting, to narrow down a field that included many of racing’s great names.

It is now down to the final five, with Red Rum joining Gold Cup winners Kauto Star, Denman and Desert Orchid, as well as unbeaten Flat superstar Frankel, in the final.

They will be profiled during National Racehorse Week, before a vote of all Racing Post readers will decide The People’s Champion.

Red Rum sees off opposition in style

The greatest Grand National horse ever, winning three times, Red Rum attracted 65 per cent of the public vote to beat Frodon, Mtoto and The Minstrel in round one of the competition.

In his semi-final, Red Rum came up against the horse who has bridged a generational gap back to his halcyon days of the 1970s in Tiger Roll, winner of the 2018 and 2019 Nationals at Aintree and the only horse since Red Rum to win it back-to-back.

Three-time Aintree hero Red Rum earned 44 per cent of the vote as he saw off dual National winner Tiger Roll, whose share of 26 per cent saw him finish second in the semi-final in front of Arkle and Enable.

Red Rum joins Gold Cup heroes

Red Rum is the only Grand National winner to have made the final five and will be popular in the final vote with Aintree lovers as such.

He faces a trio of horses who have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in Kauto Star, Denman and Desert Orchid.

‘Dessie’, a four-time King George hero at Kempton on Boxing Day and the 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, polled 69 per cent in seeing off Harchibald, Danoli and Tingle Creek in round one.

David Elsworth’s dashing grey then saw off modern-day great Sprinter Sacre, Triple Crown hero Nijinsky and hurdling superstar Hurricane Fly with 49 per cent of the vote in his semi-final

Meanwhile, Ditcheat legends Kauto Star and Denman continued their tradition of going up against one another by making the final five.

The pair, both trained by Paul Nicholls, famously finished first and second in the 2008 and 2009 Gold Cups- capturing a win each – in one of the most famous modern jumps rivalries.

Two-time Gold Cup winner Kauto Star amassed 57 per cent of the votes to beat fellow jumps legends Dawn Run and Cue Card, with Sea The Stars second on 25 per cent in his semi-final.

The ever-popular Denman took 46 per cent of the public vote as he beat Dancing Brave, Best Mate and Night Nurse to get into the final.

Frankel facing tough challenge

There’s little doubt that the longevity of National Hunt horses helps them secure a lasting place in the public’s affection.

To that end, Frankel – the modern day phenomenon – is the only finalist from the Flat.

Sir Henry Cecil’s unbeaten superstar, the highest-rated Flat horse in history, got 50 per cent of the vote in seeing off Istabraq, who was a clear second, Stradivarius and Sea Pigeon in their semi-final.

Can the superstar of the Flat see off his jumps rivals in the final, or will Red Rum hoist the title of The People’s Champion for Aintree and his beloved Grand National?

National Racehorse Week is a nationwide annual celebration of the racehorse and a chance to see first-hand the love, care and attention that goes into looking after them.

It runs from Saturday 9th to Sunday 17th September and voting, as well as profiles of the final finalists, will be underway to find the People’s Champ.

Enda McElhinney

Enda McElhinney is a racing writer with a growing portfolio of work on both British and Irish racing, with a particular fondness for National Hunt racing. While he acknowledges there have been many great runners; there has only ever been one Denman.

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