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Paul Curtis mural forms centrepiece at Red Rum exhibition at The Atkinson Gallery, Southport.

An exhibition about Red Rum - one of the world's most famous horses - has opened in the town where he trained.

He won the Grand National an unprecedented three times - in 1973, 1974 and 1977. A mural by the artist Paul Curtis, best known for his street artwork The Liver Bird Wings, also features in The Atkinson gallery in Southport. Aintree Racecourse historian Jane Clarke said the exhibit celebrated one of its "true local heroes".

Bought with a debilitating bone disease, he was restored to health under trainer Ginger McCain by the Southport seaside, where the sight of him racing across the sands "thrilled many a local resident", a spokesperson for The Atkinson said.

His rise to fame occurred at the same time that the Aintree racecourse was put up for sale in the 1970s. Historian Reg Green has previously said Red Rum did more than anyone to safeguard the Grand National and "put it back where it belongs - at the summit of sporting achievement". The horse became such a celebrity that he switched on the Blackpool Illuminations in 1977 and also appeared in the studio for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. When Red Rum died in 1995, his remains were buried at the winning post at Aintree Racecourse.

Ms Clarke said she had been "constantly warmed by the obvious affection Southport people in particular still have for this great horse", adding that many had provided memorabilia for the exhibit.

The Red Rum exhibition runs at The Atkinson until October.


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