THIRTY-ONE years after he partnered Rhyme ‘N Reason to victory in the Grand National at Aintree, and after a training career that spanned almost 20 years, Lambourn-based Brendan Powell has saddled his last runner. The 59-year-old shocked the racing world overnight with news of his immediate retirement.

Powell started his career in England working for legendary trainer Jenny Pitman. His first winner in the saddle was at Windsor in 1981 aboard Button Boy for David Gandolfo. In a highly successful career as a jockey he rode nearly 700 winners in Britain and almost 100 more abroad.

Synonymous with the 1988 Grand National winner, Powell also won a pair of Scottish (Young Kenny and Roll-A-Joint) and Midlands Nationals, the latter on Young Kenny and Another Excuse for Eugene O’Sullivan. His Cheltenham Festival winners included Monsignor in the Champion Bumper.

His first big race success was for David Elsworth on Jamesmead in the Tote Gold Trophy, while other big race successes were for trainer Tim Forster, Chris Popham, David Nicholson, Barry Hills, Mark Tompkins, Philip Hobbs, Peter Beaumont and Mark Pitman. He had a very rewarding partnership with Dublin Flyer, while in Ireland he won the Irish Champion Hurdle on Nomadic Way and the Galway Plate on Amlah.

When he retired in 2000, he originally set up training in Winchester with only a handful of horses. Now 19 years later he leaves the training ranks with almost 650 victories to his name, the best of his runners ironically being on the flat with Dark Emerald and last November’s listed winner Kasperenko.

Powell has enjoyed his two careers to date and is looking forward to whatever new challenge presents itself. “Riding and training has provided me with many great days, in and out of the saddle, and I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me to date. Now is the time to try something else and I am looking forward to the future,” he told The Irish Field.