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Grand National winner Madden announces retirement

Grand National-winning jockey Niall Madden called time on his riding career at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve.

Madden, known affectionately as ‘Slippers’, guided the Martin Brassil-trained Numbersixvalverde to win the Aintree spectacular in 2006.

His other notable victories include the 2005 Galway Hurdle aboard Noel Meade’s More Rainbows, the 2006 Christmas Hurdle on Jazz Messenger and the 2010 Galmoy Hurdle with former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero War Of Attrition, trained by Mouse Morris.

Numbersixvalverde (right) claims National glory at Aintree Aintree
Numbersixvalverde (right) claims National glory at Aintree (David Davies/PA)

Madden’s final winner came aboard Philip Dempsey’s The Long Mile in the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase at Limerick on Monday, a horse owned by JP McManus, with whom Madden enjoyed a long association.

The jockey hung up his boots for the final time after finishing down the field in the Tote Supporting Punchestown 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle on Rich Belief.

Madden said: “I’ve had a great career and had my first ride here in 2001. It was nice to finish up here at my local track.

“The Grand National was obviously the big highlight, and I rode two Grade One winners – the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Jazz Messenger and the two-mile chase at Leopardstown over Christmas on Nickname.

“I’d like to thank all the owners and trainers who have supported me over the years – and obviously mam and dad, and Aine (O’Connor, fiancee). Unfortunately they can’t be here today, but I’m delighted to come out on my own terms.

“I’ve no major plans, although there are a few roads I’d like to go down. Nothing is set in stone – and I’m open to all job offers.”