The racing world is shocked and saddened by the news that the legendary Ginger McCain has passed away at aged 80, following a short illness, so much so that the flag at Aintree racecourse was flying at half-mast on Monday as a mark of respect.

One of greatest champion horse trainers to have ever lived, McCain saddled the iconic Red Rum to Grand National glory three times (1973, 1974 and 1977) before winning the world’s greatest steeplechase for a fourth time with Amberleigh House in 2004.

So much so was his impact on the Grand National that a photograph of McCain with flowers in Red Rum’s colours was placed in reception at Aintree Racecourse and the track’s website was changed to reflect the passing of the trainer.

Tommy Stack, who rode Red Rum to his third and final Grand National win in 1977, was one of many to pay tribute to his friend. “Ginger was a wonderful man and a great friend,” Stack said. “It was a pleasure to ride for him. To produce Red Rum for the Grand National five times and to win three times and finish second twice is an achievement that will never be matched. My condolences to his family. They have lost a very great man.”