Racing has been shocked by the death of jockey Liam Treadwell, who won the Grand National on 100/1 outsider Mon Mome.
Treadwell’s career promised to be topped and tailed through an association with British point-to-pointing, for he made his racing debut in the sport as a teenager with a couple of rides in the 2002 season. The pick proved to be a second place in the South East Hunt Club Members’ Race at the Ashford Valley’s Charing meeting, where he finished second on Cheater, trained by Nick Gifford.
Both men joined the world of licensed racing, with Treadwell becoming an apprentice on the Flat before switching to Jump racing, and Gifford taking over stables from his father Josh, but they remained in contact. Gifford said yesterday: “Liam was the most affable person and a gentleman. Everyone got on with him, and I was so glad that he seemed to be getting his life back on track and he had enjoyed a good season.”
Remembering the day at Charing, Gifford said: “I’ll never forget it. Liam’s parents worked for John Dunlop at Arundel, but he had been up to Newmarket to ride out or attend the Racing School. He arrived at the course, weighed out, but he was so light I had to carry two weight cloths and a saddle back to the lorry. I almost collapsed, and thought there’s no way a horse can carry this weight.
“It’s fair to say there wasn’t much of Liam at that time, but he gave the horse a lovely ride and finished second [behind local champion Phillip York]. I believe it was his first ride in a race.”
More recently Treadwell had been assisting licensed trainer Alastair Ralph at his Shropshire stables while continuing to ride as a jockey, and had taken over a barn at the yard with the aim of running young horses in point-to-points.
The curtailment of the season due to Coronavirus meant Treadwell was responsible for just one runner, Risk D’Argent, a four-year-old son who fell at the fifth fence in a maiden race at Larkhill under former champion rider Alex Edwards.
Treadwell shot to fame in 2009 when he won Aintree’s famous steeplechase on the Venetia Williams-trained Mon Mome, who had been rejected by stable jockey Aidan Coleman in favour of 50/1 shot Stan. Coleman fell at the seventh, Mon Mome won easily and Treadwell briefly enjoyed the type of publicity reserved for international sporting stars.
He showed humility and modesty during that time, saying he recognised it was a passing phase, and he took no offence at Clare Balding’s flustered post-race comment that the win meant he could afford to have his teeth improved. They were, but the cost was met by a dentist who offered to carry out the work.
Treadwell retired as a jockey in 2018, but returned a year later and rode ten winners last season, all for Ralph.
Former amateur rider and now trainer Olly Murphy said on Twitter: “Terrible hearing the shocking news about Liam Treadwell. A kind, warm-hearted man who I enjoyed having round Warren Chase for the short spell he spent with us. May his mind now be at peace.”