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'McCain achievements are one-off'

Tommy Stack believes Ginger McCain's achievement in masterminding Red Rum to a record three wins and two second places in five consecutive Grand Nationals will never be repeated.

The former jockey-turned-trainer paid a warm tribute to his long-time friend, who died yesterday, aged 80, after a short illness.

McCain, affectionately known as Mr Grand National, made racing history by saddling Red Rum to win the great race three times in 1973, 1974 and 1977.

And it was Stack, now a trainer in his native Ireland, who partnered 'Rummy' to that famous third triumph.

"Ginger was a great man and a great friend and it was my pleasure to have known him," he said.

"He asked me to ride him when he first got him and he also asked me to ride him in his first Grand National, but I was retained by somebody else.

"To produce Red Rum on five occasions at Aintree and to never finish out of the first two is an achievement which will never be equalled."

McCain landed a record-equalling fourth National success with Amberleigh House in 2004 to give John Halewood his greatest thrill as an owner.

He said: "It is a very sad end of an era. He is a true legend and I will miss him very much."

McCain and his wife, Beryl, were married for 50 years and have a daughter, Joanne, and a son, Donald, who took over the licence in 2006 and won the National himself with Ballabriggs this year.

McCain began his training career as a permit holder in 1953 and took out a full licence in 1969 when his stables were behind his car showroom in Southport. In 1990, he moved to Cholmondeley in Cheshire.

He worked as a taxi driver to supplement his income as a trainer prior to finding Grand National success.

It was as a taxi driver that he became acquainted with Noel le Mare, for whom he bought Red Rum.