Former Grand National jockey Michael Byrne dies aged 36 as tributes flood in

Jockey Michael Byrne has died aged 36
Jockey Michael Byrne has died aged 36 -Credit:PA

Former Grand National jockey Michael Byrne has died aged 36. Members of the horse racing community have been left devastated by his tragic death, with tributes flooding in.

The rider, 36, competed in the Grand National and took several races at Cheltenham. During his time in Britain, the Irishman had 96 winners, with 61 recorded on Tim Vaughan-trained horses since 2009, the Mirror reports.

In 2010, Byrne was in Aintree's winners' enclosure after the Listed mares' bumper, when Bowen-trained Big Time Billy caused an upset at 28-1. It rounded off a special day for the handler, as Always Waining galloped to his first Topham Chase title, a race he made his own in subsequent years.

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The following month, Byrne was victorious up in Liverpool with 2005 Cheltenham Gold Cup second Take The Stand, just nine days after the pair's triumph on hunter chase night at Prestbury Park. Buck Magic provided another career milestone there, securing a conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle at the 2021 November Meeting.

Byrne retired in 2016 and returned home to Ireland, where he prepared horses for the sales.

Racehorse trainer Neil Mulholland said: "Michael will be sadly missed, he was a lovely fella and used to ride out here. A lot of my staff worked with him and they have been affected by the news. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends."

"It is just so sad and I am devastated for Michael's family and friends," said Welsh trainer Tim Vaughan, who provided Byrne's 2014 Aintree ride Golan Way in the edition won by Pineau De Re.

Michael Byrne pictured with trainer Tim Vaughan
Michael Byrne pictured with trainer Tim Vaughan

"He was a lovely person reliable, honest and loyal. He started his career in Peter Bowen's stable and worked for us for about five years. Dicky (Richard) Johnson was our main jockey at the time and Michael was conditional, he rode out his claim here. We enjoyed lots of success together and got on famously well."