Thomas Frederic “Fred” Rimmell was National Hunt Champion Trainer on four occasions, in 1960/61, 1968/69, 1969/1970 and 1974/75, but earned his place in the Grand National Hall of Fame by virtue of saddling four different horses to win the famous steeplechase. His winners were ESB in 1956, Nicolaus Silver in 1961, Gay Trip in 1970 and Rag Trade in 1976.
On the first occasion, ESB was, as jockey Dave Dick later admitted, “a terribly lucky winner”, after the leader, Devon Loch, inexplicably collapsed on the run-in at Aintree, just 50 yards from the winning post. Fortunate though he may have been, ESB still recorded the fourth fastest winning time in the history of the Grand National.
Five years later, Nicolaus Silver, ridden by Bobby Beasley, won what was, at the time, the richest ever National, worth £20,000 to the winner. On good to firm going, the eight-year-old was left in the lead when Fresh Winds unseated his rider at the first open ditch on the second circuit and was one of seven horses who pulled clear approaching the home turn. He and Merryman II, the previous year’s winner, were stride for stride between the last two fences, but Nicolaus Silver led over the final fence and drew clear on the run-in to win by 5 lengths. In so doing, he became the first grey to win the Grand National since the Lamb in 1871.
In 1970, Gay Trip, ridden by Pat Taafe, was noted “running away” by commentator Julian Wilson as the much-reduced field approached Becher’s Brook on the second circuit and, from the home turn, had only Dozo, ridden by Eddie Harty, for company. It soon became clear that Gay Trip was going, by far, the better and he duly strode away for a facile, 20-length win.
In 1976, Rimmell won his fourth, and final, Grand National with Rag Trade, ridden by Jimmy Burke. Red Rum, making his second attempt at an unprecedented third Grand National win, led crossing the Melling Road for the final time, but was tackled on the run-in by Rag Trade who, in receipt of 12lb, stayed on to win by 4 lengths.