43-year-old Leighton Aspell will retire from the saddle after riding at Fontwell this weekend, the jockey set to ride Ventura Dragon and Itsnotwhatyouthink for two of his main supporters, namely Oliver Sherwood and Nick Gifford.
Aspell won the Grand National on two occasions with Dr Richard Newland-trained Pineau De Re in 2014 and the following the year on Sherwood-trained Many Clouds. Aspell’s other major victories included the Hennessy Gold Cup on Many Clouds in 2014 as well as two Welsh Nationals in 2001 with Supreme Glory and 2005 with L’Aventure.
Regarding his decision to hand up his whip, Aspell said: “Retiring has been on my mind for a while and I thought I’d do it at my local track.’
“This is for definite. I’ve had a brilliant second innings at it with the Hennessy and two Grand Nationals and many graded races for Oliver.
“It is something that has been on my mind for a while. I could have gone on until the end of the season, I could have done it when I reached 50 winners.
‘When the entries came out for this week and I saw it was Fontwell, a local track, and I saw I had some rides there I thought I would do it then.”
Aspell’s best season was in 2013/14 when he rode 65 winners and so far this season he has 47 wins to his name.
With regard to his future plans, he added: “The time has come to move on. I am very interested in handicapping, form analysis and race-reading. I’d like that line of work if it was available.”