When reflecting on his illustrious career in the saddle, two-time Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell hailed Many Clouds as a “special horse for many reasons”.
Aspell decided to hang up his boots last week with his final outing being at Fontwell on Sunday. The following day he joined Charlie Poste and Joshua Stacey on the Racing Post Racing Riot podcast in order to speak about the highlights of his lengthy racing career.
Aspell got his first Grand National success on Richard Newland-trained Pineua De Re in 2014 and he repeated this success on board Oliver Sherwood-trained Many Clouds the following year.
Throughout his career, Aspell rode 922 winners in the UK and Ireland and he partnered Many Clouds on all of his 27 starts, including the final one when winning the Cotswold Chase after which the horse died from a pulmonary haemorrhage.
Speaking on the Racing Post podcast, the retired jockey said: “It was fantastic to win the National twice. Pineau De Re was absolutely on the peak of his form as he arrived on the back of a close running-on third in the Coral Cup and Richard Newland’s horses were running really well. He was in great shape that day and it worked out really well.
“I had to get off Pineau De Re to ride Many Clouds the year after, which was difficult, but Many Clouds was a special horse for lots of reasons. We thought he ran disappointingly in the Gold Cup but when you look back it wasn’t a bad run and he produced the goods at Aintree.
“I got great pleasure out of winning the National on Many Clouds. He was an easy ride in the National. Whereas Pineau De Re was a small horse and we both had to work hard, Many Clouds just travelled around beautifully. The second circuit was a joy – I slotted behind the leaders down the inside and he jumped so well. It was fantastic.”
Aspell’s final ride was aboard Itsnotwhatyouthink which finished second in the bumper at Fontwell on Sunday. He is taking his time deciding what his plans will be for the future.
He continued: “It was a great day at Fontwell and a very busy one with lots of well-wishers and people coming to say good luck for the future and I had some great friends and colleagues there.
“I’m really proud of my career and I have some great memories over the years. I’ve been a lucky boy to have some good relationships with trainers that have lasted a long time and kept producing winners.
“Retirement started to weigh heavy on my mind and I was thinking about when to do it on a daily basis. When the entries came out for Fontwell and I was confident it was going to beat the weather, I decided that was the right time.
“I’m going to take some time out now and I have a few options for the future. I have a pre-training setup, I’m a fully qualified jockey coach and I’m quite into form analysis so I’ll chuck out a few feelers and see where it goes.”