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Obituary: Liam Treadwell

Little-known jockey who shot to fame when he rode 100-1 outsider Mon Mome to victory in the 2009 Grand National


Popular: Liam Treadwell

Popular: Liam Treadwell

Popular: Liam Treadwell

Liam Treadwell, who has died aged 34, enjoyed a brief moment in the limelight when he rode Mon Mome to victory in the 2009 Grand National.

At only 23, he was virtually unknown outside racing circles, and it was his first ride in the race. Even more remarkable was that Mon Mome, trained by Venetia Williams, had been sent off at odds of 100-1 - making it the longest-priced winner since Foinavon in 1967.

Venetia Williams's principal jockey, Aidan Coleman, had elected to ride another of her horses in the race, and when Mon Mome came home 12 lengths clear of Comply Or Die, winner of the National the previous year, there was, as Treadwell put it, "an eerie silence. Nobody had backed him. Everyone was as shocked as me".

Interviewed in the aftermath of the race, the jockey was told by the BBC's Clare Balding that his success would mean he could now afford to get the gaps in his teeth seen to - a remark that brought 2,000 complaints from viewers, forcing Balding to apologise. Treadwell took it in good part, however, and took her advice after a dentist offered his services almost free of charge.

The 2009 National would prove to be the highlight of Treadwell's career, which came to illustrate some of the perils which can attend life as a jump jockey.

Unable to capitalise on his early success, at one stage he was briefly reduced to doing the duties of a stable lad in order to make ends meet; and although he went on to win a handful of decent races, he never recovered fully from a serious head injury sustained in a race in 2016.

He suffered from depression, and in February 2018 retired from riding. A year later he decided to return to the saddle, and became assistant to the Shropshire trainer Alastair Ralph. He was still working there at the time of his death.

Liam Treadwell was born on January 3, 1986 at Arundel, West Sussex, in England, where his parents worked for the local trainer John Dunlop.

On leaving Angmering School at 16, he started out as an apprentice jockey with Amanda Perrett before moving north to join Dandy Nicholls, for whom he rode 26 winners on the Flat.

In 2004 he went to Venetia Williams, for whom - as well as the Grand National - he won the 2013 Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival on Carrickboy (a 50-1 shot); the 2015 Grand Sefton at Aintree on Bennys Mist; and the 2016 Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on Otago Trail. In all he rode 125 winners for her.

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He also had two seasons as stable jockey to Nick Gifford, which yielded 45 winners; and he finished third in the 2015 Grand National on Monbeg Dude, trained by Michael Scudamore. In total, he rode 308 winners over the jumps.

Liam Treadwell, who died on June 23, was a universally popular character on the racecourse, and spoke eloquently about his mental health issues, both in the press and in a film made by the Professional Jockeys' Association.

His marriage to his wife Emily ended in divorce, and he is survived by his parents and his brother.

© Telegraph

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

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