1977 Grand National
|1977 Grand National|
|Date||2 April 1977|
|Winning horse||Red Rum|
|Owner||Noel Le Mare|
|The last stages of the 1977 Grand National BBC Sport|
|The Grand National 1977 British Movietone|
The 1977 Grand National (known as the News of the World Grand National for sponsorship reasons) was the 131st renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 2 April 1977.
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.
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.
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 owner 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.
Red Rum was given the top weight for Aintree, but it had dropped to 11 stone 8 lb.
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. Nine of the 42 runners completed the course.
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 26th fence.
|1st||Red Rum||Tommy Stack||12||11-8||9/1 JF|
|2nd||Churchtown Boy||Martin Blackshaw||10||10-0||20/1|
|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|
|10th||Hidden Value||Jimmy Bourke||9||10-4||40/1|
|11th||Saucey Belle||RF 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||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||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|
|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||John Burke||8||10-7||15/2||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|
|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|
|28 (Ditch)||Barony Fort||Charlotte Brew||12||10-1||200/1||Refused|
Media Coverage and Aftermath
In a new innovation the BBC opted to place an audio mic 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 however had narrowly missed out on a fantastic coup of 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 history making Grand National winning jockey, while in the act of making history, was lost forever. 
- The Grand National : the history of the Aintree spectacular, by Stewart Peters & Bernard Parkin, ISBN 0-7524-3547-7
- Sporting Life Souvenir Magazine, 4 April 1987, page 24