Saturday 22 October 2016

Fehily okay but Grand National winner Maguire forced to retire

Published 06/05/2016 | 02:30

Noel Fehily (Getty Images)
Noel Fehily (Getty Images)

Noel Fehily has emerged relatively unscathed after being airlifted to hospital following a fall at Newton Abbot on Wednesday, but his colleague Jason Maguire has formally confirmed his retirement over a year after suffering slipped discs in a fall at Musselburgh.

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Fehily's injuries were confined to bruising, a happy outcome after a horror hurdle fall prompted his airborne departure.

Maguire, thankfully, also has full use of his body. However, the 36-year-old Meath native, whose finest hour came when he won the 2011 Grand National on Don McCain's Ballabriggs, has repeatedly been foiled in his efforts to return.

It brings to an end a distinguished career, which saw him ride five Cheltenham Festival winners and finish second to AP McCoy in the 2013 jockeys' championship when he rode 144 winners for a second year in a row. He has been operating as racing manager to his former retainers Paul and Clare Rooney and will continue in that role.

"He had some memorable days, no-one can ever take a Grand National win away from him, and he has enjoyed good days at Cheltenham, too," Maguire's agent Chris Broad said yesterday.

McCoy also paid tribute to Maguire, saying: "It's something he has been suffering with for some time, pretty much since the Stratford fall," he said in reference to a life-threatening 2014 fall that left him with a fractured sternum and required part of his liver to be removed.

"It deteriorated from there. For the last six months he was riding in unbelievable pain, he was having to travel to the races lying down in the back of cars it was hurting so much.

"People don't realise a lot of the time what lads are going through just to get to the races. He was an unbelievably tough competitor and, if anything, he was getting better with age."

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