Horse racing rocked by champion jockey's death at 34

The racing world is mourning the death of champion English jockey Liam Treadwell, who died aged 34. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Liam Treadwell, an English jockey who rode a horse with odds of 100-1 to victory in the Grand National Steeplechase in 2009, has died. He was 34.

Treadwell's death was confirmed by horseracing trainer Alastair Ralph, who said it was 'unbelievably sad' and a 'big shock.'

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Police attended the home of Treadwell after his death, which is being treated as unexplained, Britain's Press Association reported. Police said they did not suspect any third-party involvement.

Treadwell was riding in the Grand National for the first time when he guided Mon Mome to one of the most surprising wins in the history of the grueling race in 2009.

It was one of more than 300 winners in Treadwell's career.

He retired from riding in February 2018, but returned to the saddle in March 2019.

Nick Rust, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said the governing body was 'devastated' to hear the news of Treadwell's death and said his victory aboard Mon Mome ‘cemented his place in racing folklore.’

Tragedy rocks racing's return from virus break

Zodiakos wrote his name into the record books with victory in the Welcome Back British Racing Handicap at Newcastle - the first race in the United Kingdom since meetings were last held on March 17.

After government approval was granted on Saturday, racing was the first major professional sport to resume in Britain since the coronavirus shutdown with a 10-race meeting.

The British Horseracing Authority has set out a comprehensive set of protocols to allow the sport to resume behind closed doors - with jockeys required to wear face coverings to compete as strict hygiene and social distancing measures are in place.

The Roger Fell-trained gelding Zodiakos held off the challenge of his more-fancied stablemate Al Ozzdi to win by a neck in the opener.

However it wasn’t all happy news after tragedy also struck the event.

On a sombre note on racing's return, December Second fell in the closing stages of the day's feature race and brought down outsider Financial Conduct.

Both jockeys were reported to have escaped serious harm but December Second's visibly upset trainer Phil Kirby confirmed the six-year-old gelding suffered a fatal injury.

“He's gone, I'm afraid,” Kirby said.