Double Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell calls time on career

Double Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell calls time on career

Grand National-winning jockey Leighton Aspell has confirmed his retirement from horse racing.

The 43-year-old announced his decision at Kempton on Saturday, with the Nick Gifford-trained Itsnotwhatyouthink due to be his last mount in the Watt Fences Ltd Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race at Fontwell.

Aspell initially hung up his saddle in 2007, but returned to the weighing room in 2009 — a move which proved highly lucrative with his best days on the track yet to come.

The Dublin-born racer had won two Welsh Grand Nationals in his first stint in the riding ranks, his second spell as a jockey provided him with back-to-back victories in the Aintree showpiece.

Leighton Aspell riding Many Clouds at The Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree racecourse on April 11, 2015 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Aspell and the Dr Richard Newland-trained Pineau De Re sprang a 25-1 shock in the 2014 National, before Oliver Sherwood’s Many Clouds triumphed at the same odds the following year, making him the first rider since Brian Fletcher on Red Rum to win two successive renewals.

Brilliant second innings

Aspell said: “This is for definite. I’ve had a brilliant second innings at it with the Hennessy and two Grand Nationals and many graded races for Oliver.

“It is something that has been on my mind for a while. I could have gone on until the end of the season, I could have done it when I reached 50 winners.

“When the entries came out for this week and I saw it was Fontwell, a local track, and I saw I had some rides there I thought I would do it then.”

Aspell enjoyed his best season when riding 65 winners in 2013/14, while he had 47 to his name this term before racing last Saturday.