Jockey Liam Treadwell, who rode Mon Mome to a shock victory in the 2009 Grand National, has died aged 34.
Trainer Alastair Ralph confirmed the tragic news on Tuesday, describing Treadwell’s death as ‘unbelievably sad’ and a ‘big shock’.
It has not yet been revealed how Treadwell, who was born in Arundel, Sussex, died, but Ralph told The Sun: ‘We found him this morning, it’s all still very raw. It’s just terrible, he had suffered depression and it was on going for a couple of years.’
Treadwell announced his retirement from riding in February 2018, but returned to the saddle in March 2019. In his last Instagram post on June 9 he wrote about trying to get back to full fitness for the National Hunt season.
Tributes now have poured in for Treadwell, who won the world’s greatest steeplechase at Aintree on 100/1 outsider Mon Mome 11 years ago.
Jockey Liam Treadwell, who rode Mon Mome to victory in the 2009 Grand National, has died
Treadwell won the world’s greatest steeplechase at Aintree on the 100/1 outsider 11 years ago
Following his victory on Mon Mome Ofcom received more than 2,000 complaints after broadcaster Clare Balding made reference to Treadwell’s teeth during the BBC coverage of the 2009 Grand National, saying: ‘Just give us a big grin to the camera.
Treadwell initially smiled for the cameras without showing them, but Balding wasn’t taking no for an answer.
‘No, no, let’s see your teeth. He hasn’t got the best teeth in the world, but you can afford to go and get them done now if you like.’
In 2010 Treadwell sat through 15 sessions with a cosmetic dentist to fix his teeth.
‘The hardest thing about it has been learning how to smile properly for the first time. I used to keep my mouth closed all the time,’ he told The Express.
Following his win on Mon Mome Ofcom received over 2,000 complaints after broadcaster Clare Balding made reference to Treadwell’s teeth which he later had treatment on
Balding referred to his ‘great sense of humour’ in her tribute to Treadwell on Tuesday
Tributes have poured in for Treadwell on social media, including from trainer Jonjo O’Neill
Trainer Olly Murphy also paid tribute to the jockey following his death on Tuesday
Balding and the BBC quickly apologised for the comments and Balding referred to his ‘great sense of humour’ in her tribute on Tuesday.
She wrote on Twitter: ‘I am desperately sad to hear of the death of Liam Treadwell. My heart goes out to his family and all his friends. He was the loveliest guy with a great sense of humour and I know how much @IJF_official has supported him in recent years. It is a tragedy to have lost him so young.’
Trainer Jonjo O’Neill wrote on Twitter: ‘Absolutely tragic news regarding Liam Treadwell. A lovely lad and brilliant jockey. All of our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.’
Treadwell’s last post on Instagram was two weeks ago, it read: ‘Trying to get fit for the resumption of jump racing in a few weeks, while Esco takes a week of from guard duties’
Trainer Olly Murphy wrote on Twitter: ‘Terrible hearing the shocking news about Liam Treadwell. A kind, warm hearted man who I enjoyed having round Warren chase for the short spell he spent with us. May his mind now be at peace. Sleep well x.’
BHA chief executive Nick Rust said: ‘We are devastated to hear the tragic news about Liam Treadwell.
‘Liam had a fine career in 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.’
As well winning on the Venetia Williams-trained Mon Mome on his first attempt, Treadwell was also third in the Grand National on Monbeg Dude in 2015.
Other big-race successes for Treadwell included the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree on Bennys Mist in 2015 and the Byrne Group Plate on Carrickboy at the Cheltenham Festival in 2013.
As well as still riding, he was assistant to the Bridgnorth-based Alistair Ralph. Treadwell rode more than 300 winners during his career.
Aintree Racecourse Tweeted: ‘We’re deeply saddened to hear about the passing of 2009 Grand National winning jockey, Liam Treadwell. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.’
While racing charity Racing Welfare said on social media: ‘We are incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Liam Treadwell and wish to send our most sincere condolences to his friends and family.
‘If you have been affected and would like to talk to someone, our team are available 24/7 via Racing’s Support Line on 0800 6300 443.’
A statement from West Mercia Police read: ‘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.’
Mick Fitzgerald – also a Grand National-winning rider having landed the Aintree spectacular aboard Rough Quest in 1996 – is a former weighing-room colleague of Treadwell’s.
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.’
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