Rag Trade

Horses | Last ran in 1978
Dam - The Rage
Sire - Menelek
Dam's Sire - Cagire
Born - 1966

Rag Trade Grand National Wins

  • 1976 - ridden by John Burke trained by Thomas Frederic Rimell

A horse that ran three times in the Grand National, winning on one occasion, getting around twice. This was one of the horses to beat Red Rum in the Grand National, preventing history from being made, and will always be remembered for that.

However, the horse also created a piece of history for trainer Fred Rimell. This was his fourth Grand National win, a record that would stand until 2004, when Ginger McCain, trainer of Red Rum, bagged his fourth.

The horse had a unique quirk with his Grand National record, strange for any National runner but certainly for a winner. He ran in the race three times and was trained by a different trainer for each of those, as well as being ridden by a different jockey on all three occasions.

Fred Rimell and John Burke were the two people to get him the win.

Full Results

Year Result Prize Money Handicap Jockey Trainer
1978 Fence 21 - Pulled Up - 11-3 Jonjo O’Neill G B Fairburn
1976 1 £37,420 10-12 John Burke Thomas Frederic Rimell
1975 10 - 10-4 John Francome A J Pitt

Winner Of The 1976 Grand National

Talk ahead of the 1976 was all about one horse, and that was Red Rum. He’d won two Grand National titles at this stage and was second in 1975 when trying to land a historic third win. Here, he was back for more, looking to finally get the third title that no one had previously been able to land.

Despite this, Red Rum wasn’t actually sent off as favourite for the race, that honour went to Barona, who had an SP of 7/1, ridden by Paul Kelleway. That horse would run well but eventually finished in fourth place, while Eyecatcher, a relative outsider at 28/1, would finish in third.

That left the first and second to battle it out, but there was always only ever going to be one winner, with Rag Trade having too much for Red Rum. Both horses were in the latter part of their careers, Rag Trade was ten while Red Rum was 11, so both had a lot of experience.

The biggest difference was the weight on their back. Red Rum had won the Grand National twice, so he was burdened with a big weight to try and stop him from winning again. There was almost a stone in weight difference between the two, something that ultimately told on Red Rum, as he was unable to reel in the leader up the run in.

Rag Trade was staying strongly, he had plenty left in the tank, but given the weight difference between the two runners, there was no way that Red Rum would be able to get him back.

This was the second time in two years that Red Rum had been at the Grand National trying to win his third title, and again, he would finish second in this race. The weight made it tough enough for him, but on top of that, he was also now an 11-year-old, so he was coming towards the end of his career.

Despite the focus on Red Rum, don’t take anything away from Rag Trade, who put up a very strong performance here to take the race. A year earlier, he was 10th, and didn’t immediately look like a winner waiting to happen in the race, but that is precisely what he did 12 months later.

Fred Rimell Makes History With Fourth Win

While everyone was focusing on Red Rum and his chances of making history, it was elsewhere that we saw history made, and this time it was the trainer of the winner Rag Trade, Fred Rimell. He bagged his fourth Grand National win when taking the race, the first trainer to ever win four titles, a remarkable feat given the competitive nature of the race.

The first victory he recorded came back in 1956, while he also won the race in 1961 and 1970 before taking the 1976 race.

The record that Rimell took would stand for many years until he was finally equalled in 2004, and that came in the form of Red Rum’s trainer Ginger McCain. Red Rum won the race three times for him, and then in 2004, Amberleigh House won the Grand National to give McCain four winners, tying Rimell.

Rag Trade’s Big Race Wins

It is fair to say that the career of Rag Trade was a little disruptive, given the fact that he moved around between trainers quite a lot, which can’t have been easy for the horse. He won a total of three big races, one of those came before he was moved to Rimell, while the other two came while he was in the care of this trainer, including the Grand National.

After finishing 10th in the 1975 Grand National, Rag Trade landed his first big race win, and that came just three weeks later. He won the Midlands National, showing that he was a more than capable stayer, despite not going that well in the Grand National. Just a few weeks after this, he was transferred to Rimell, where he would continue in training, with the Grand National at the centre of his season plans.

In preparation for that race, he landed his second big race win and this time, it was the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. This was the perfect preparation for the Grand National, and showed that the horse needed to be feared, which he was, sent off as short as 14/1 for the Aintree showpiece.

Of course, as we’ve already spoken about, the third and final big race win of Rag Trade’s career was the 1976 Grand National, a day when many were talking about Red Rum, but Rag Trade stole the headlines with a fantastic training performance.

After moving around with different trainers, the horse was in the care of someone who had been there and done it all before, winning the Grand National on three occasions before this race. The win for Rag Trade made it four for Rimell, arriving in great form on the back of a big race win in the Welsh Grand National, and then he got his hands on the prize at Aintree to round off a very impressive racing career.