Red Rum Club march to tune of Ain­tree great

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Racing - Mar­cus Army­tage

If a band have played on BBC Ra­dio 2 then they have made it in my book, and racing fans may have pricked their ears re­cently when­ever Eleanor has been played; not just be­cause it is a catchy num­ber, but be­cause it is sung by Red Rum Club.

The band, whose music is “In­die/pop/Amer­i­cana with a bit of a Mex­i­can thing go­ing on” has some­thing in com­mon with the Bea­tles, other than singing about some­one called Eleanor – they are six lads from

Liver­pool. But it is the name which in­ter­ests us.

They all went to school to­gether and formed a band aged 16 so, ac­cord­ing to lead singer Fran Do­ran, they could play in pubs and “get free beer and at­tract girls”. But things have moved on and 10 years later they are in the charts.

For some time they had no name, but Red Rum Club came about dur­ing a spell of writ­ing dark songs. Ad­vised to watch a dark film, they picked The Shin­ing.

There is a fa­mous scene in which the child, Danny Tor­rance, with a kitchen knife in his hand, chants “Red rum” in his mother’s bed­room, be­fore writ­ing it in lip­stick on the door. (The film was made in 1980, so it clearly was not a tip for that year’s Grand Na­tional.)

It is my nine-year-old daugh­ter’s favourite fact about Red Rum that, as Mrs Tor­rance dis­cov­ers when she wakes up, seen back­wards in a mir­ror it spells mur­der.

Fast for­ward a cou­ple of years and at one of Red Rum Club’s gigs is Carmel Wil­son, wife of Ge­orge

Wil­son, who is the top ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist and sports nutri­tion­ist at Liver­pool John Moores Univer­sity and the go-to ex­pert in those fields for jock­eys. In­deed, he is the man to whom Jim Crow­ley went and said if he could lose 7lb he would be cham­pion jockey.

Wil­son replied that not only could he help him do that, but that he would be fit­ter and stronger too and, fur­ther proof that he is not stupid, backed him at 33-1 for the fol­low­ing sea­son’s cham­pi­onship.

Any­way, Carmel re­turned home say­ing the band were good and, hav­ing had his own band, Ge­orge got in touch and sug­gested he man­age them. They said OK.

As part of his pitch he had told them the story of his first day as a lad work­ing for Ginger McCain, when the head lad sent him to feed the re­tired Red Rum. He walked in with the feed, where­upon Red Rum threw him out of the sta­ble.

“You can’t just walk in,” said the head lad. “He knows you’re just a scruffy lit­tle lad, you have to go in there telling him he’s the great­est.”

The head lad then demon­strated this, telling Red Rum how great he was, and Ge­orge re­mains un­cer­tain to this day whether it was a wind-up or not but, like Crow­ley, Red Rum Club are go­ing great guns un­der his man­age­ment.

Their next sin­gle, Bal­lerino, is about to hit the air­waves, dates for a na­tion­wide tour in the spring have just been an­nounced and, to square the Red Rum cir­cle, the cover of their new album The

Hol­low of Hum­drum has been shot on South­port Beach where, through­out the 1970s, the foot­steps in the sand were all Rummy’s.

Poignant: The band pose on South­port beach, for­mer stamp­ing ground of their name­sake

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