The racing world has been rocked by the death of Cheltenham Festival and Grand National winning jockey Liam Treadwell at the age of just 34.
Treadwell sprang one of the biggest surprises in the world’s greatest steeplechase at Aintree when riding the Venetioa Williams trained 100/1 outsider Mon Mome to victory in 2009 on his first attempt.
Other big-race successes for Treadwell included the Byrne Group Plate on Carrickboy at the Cheltenham Festival in 2013 and the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree on Bennys Mist in 2015.
Treadwell, who rode 308 winners over jumps from 2005 to this year, retired in February 2018 following a fall at Bangor in March 2016 which knocked him unconscious leading to the decision.
But, after spending nearly a year working as head lad for Ed de Giles, he returned to race-riding last year and rode10 winners during the 2019-20 season – all for Alastair Ralph for whom he was assistant trainer.
He was found dead at his home on Wednesday, June 23. A statement from West Mercia Police said: “Earlier this morning police were called to an address in Billingsley, near Bridgnorth, following the death of a man in his 30s.
“The death is currently being treated as unexplained. However, at this stage there is believed to be no third-party involvement.”
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Fitzgerald among those to pay tribute to “Tredders”
Mick Fitzgerald, a former weighing-room colleague of Treadwell’s, was among the first to pay tribute to the highly popular dieder. He told Sky Sports Racing: “Seeing him winning the Grand National is in many ways the best way to remember him.
“He was a really nice guy, he was a lovely rider – and it’s just awfully sad. It’s sad for his family and anybody connected with him. It just highlights again how precious life is.
“We used to call him ‘Tredders’. He just got on with it when he was racing. You never knew he was there. He wasn’t a shouter. He just wanted to do the best he could, and it’s just awfully sad for everybody involved.”
The British Horseracing Authority’s chief executive Nick Rust also paid tribute, saying in a statement: “We are devastated to hear the tragic news about Liam Treadwell. Liam had a fine career in British racing, riding over 300 winners in the 17 years that he held a jockeys’ licence, obviously none more memorable than his remarkable 100-1 Grand National success on Mon Mome in 2009 – a ride that cemented his place in racing folklore.
“The racing community will be united in grief today, and the thoughts of everyone at the BHA are with Liam’s friends, family and colleagues.”
I had the pleasure to meet and speak to Treadwell many times. He was a true gentleman who always had time to answer questions and chat. He will, indeed, be sadly missed.
Military March ruled out of Investec Derby
Leading Investec Derby hope Military March has been ruled out of next week’s 1m 4f Classic contest at Epsom after suffering a setback.
The Godolphin owned three-year-old son of New Approach had been a general 11/2 shot in the ante post betting premier Classic at Epsom on July 4 after finishing an eye-catching fourth to Kameko on seasonal reappearance in the 2000 Guineas.
Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said: “He’ll be back by the end of the season, but his setback means no Derby.He’s a nice horse, we like him and he was doing really well so it’s really unfortunate. He’ll have a break now, but he should be back in October and we’ll look forward to that.
“It’s sad that he’s not running. He ran a good race in the Guineas and the Derby looked the perfect race for him, we’ve always felt he was a mile-and-a-quarter or mile-and-a-half horse, but he’s still one to look forward to in the future.
“It’s not serious, but he just needs time. He would have been my best chance in the Derby for a long time.”
Andrew Balding’s 2000 Guineas winner Kameko, meanwhile, impressed in a gallop at Kempton on Wednesday ahead of his attempt to become the first since Aidan O’Brien’s Camelot in 2012 to complete the Guineas/Derby double.
Kameko is the general second favourite for the blue riband contest at a joint-top top price of 5/1 with Coral and William Hill.
Balding told Sky Sports Racing: “We’ve been really pleased with him, he’s a pleasure to train, a real professional.He went to Kempton for a gallop, which we did before Newmarket 10 days prior, and it went well. I couldn’t be happier.”
Dettori to partner favourite English King
English King is the general 5/2 favourite for the Investec Derby and the Ed Walker trained colt will be partnered by Frankie Dettori for the first time.
The son of Camelot was ultra-impressive when landing the Lingfield Derby Trial earlier in the month under Tom Marquand.
However, English King’s owner Bjorn Nielsen has decided in conjunction with Walker to replace Mqraquand with the more experienced Dettori.
Walker told the Press Association : “Frankie is going to ride English King in the Derby. I feel desperately sorry for Tom, and it is absolutely no reflection of our faith and trust in his ability.
“Frankie obviously has a wealth of big-race experience and raises his game to stratospheric heights for the big races. We feel very privileged to have him on board.”