Grand National winner Niall Madden calls time on riding career

Former Grand National-winning jockey Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden has called time on his race riding career.

The 35-year-old Kildare native enjoyed success on the biggest stage when he guided the Martin Brassil trained Numbersixvalderde to Grand National glory at Aintree in 2006.

Congratulations to @slippersmadden who retired today @punchestownrace – his local track where he also had his first ride in 2001 👏

We’ll never forget his win in the @AintreeRaces Grand National on Numbersixvalverde in 2006 🏆🏇

Good luck Niall ☘️ pic.twitter.com/pAq19XgjZR

— Horse Racing Ireland (@HRIRacing) December 31, 2020

Madden made the announcement at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve, the same location he had his first ride under rules, back in 2001.

‘Slippers’, nicknamed so, as his father also Niall, was ‘Boots,’ (his brother Tom is known as ‘Socks’) was an appropriate partner to the great chaser Nickname. The pair enjoyed grade one success at the Leopardstown Christmas festival in 2006.

Noel Meade and ‘Boots’ Madden provided the bulk of the winners over Slippers’ career, one the jockey reflected on earlier.

“I’ve had a great career, I had my first ride here in 2001 and it was nice to finish up at my local track,” said Madden at Punchestown making the announcement.

“The Grand National was obviously the big highlight and I rode two grade one winners — the Christmas Hurdle 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.

“I’d also like to give my condolences to John McManus and his family on their very sad loss.”

McManus has always been a big supporter of the career of Niall Madden. The Limerick man provided the retiring jockey with his final winner, The Long Mile who scored at Limerick at their Christmas Festival on Monday.