Brian Fletcher, rider of Red Rum, has died

Brian Fletcher, who rode three winners of the Grand National including two on Red Rum, has died, aged 69.

In the first of Red Rum’s three Grand nationals in 1973, Fletcher urged him home after the last fence when he was still 15 lengths behind to deny great Australian steeplechaser Crisp victory in a thrilling finish.

The Jockey Club, owners of the famous Aintree track, tweeted: “Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Brian Fletcher, an @AintreeRaces legend. Our condolences to his family and friends.”

Fletcher said some years ago he did not regard either of Red Rum’s victories in the Grand National as the best race of his career, but instead plumped for the his win in the Scottish version of 1974.

Former champion jockey Peter Scudamore described Fletcher as an “unsung hero”

“He was an unsung hero and without the unsung heroes of that era National Hunt racing wouldn’t be where it is today,” he told Press Association Sport.

“It goes without saying he was a very good horseman and to win the Grand National three times is an incredible achievement.

“It’s just a shame that after he finished in racing you didn’t hear a lot about him.”

Nigel Payne has been associated with the National since the 1970s in his role as press officer and said: “I remember Brian as someone whose name is imprinted on the Grand National in respect of his two wins on Red Rum and his victory on Red Alligator.

“He’s someone we had contact with since his retirement, I’d spoken to him a couple of times about certain promotions and it has come as a bit of a shock.

“He is one of the iconic names associated with Aintree and perhaps he didn’t get the recognition he deserved.

“To win the Grand National three times is truly amazing.”