Jason Maguire

Jason Maguire
Dan Heap, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although not one of the biggest names in the weighing room around the entire UK, Jason Maguire is certainly a name that northern horse racing fans will remember fondly. Spending time riding for the likes of Donald McCain Jr, Ferdy Murphy, Howard Johnson and other northern trainers, he made a living off the circuit and had one huge day in the sun when he won the 2011 Grand National aboard Ballabriggs.

The success was without a doubt the biggest of his career and fittingly came on a horse trained by Donald McCain Jr, the trainer he had the biggest association with during his career.

Maguire first rode in the Grand National in 2001 aboard No Retreat, with his last National ride coming on Ballabriggs in 2013. His victory in 2011 aboard that horse was the only one he had in the race from 12 attempts. In six of those 12 races, he rode either Ballabriggs or Cloudy Lane, both for Donald McCain Jr and two horses that Maguire had a big connection with on the track.

Jason Maguire Grand National Wins

  • 2011 - Ballabriggs trained by Donald McCain Jnr

Full Results

Year Horse Result Prize Money Trainer
2013 Ballabriggs Fence 24 - Pulled Up - Donald McCain Jnr
2012 Ballabriggs 6 £12,870 Donald McCain Jnr
2011 Ballabriggs 1 £535,135 Donald McCain Jnr
2010 Cloudy Lane 8 £3,145 Donald McCain Jnr
2009 Cloudy Lane Fence 15 - Unseated Rider - Donald McCain Jnr
2008 Cloudy Lane 6 £10,640 Donald McCain Jnr
2007 Idle Talk Fence 19 - Fell - Donald McCain Jnr
2006 Lord of Illusion Fence 17 - Pulled Up - Tom George
2005 Europa 20 - Ferdy Murphy
2003 Tremallt 9 - Tom George
2002 Birkdale 10 - Ferdy Murphy
2001 No Retreat Fence 16 - Pulled Up - S A Brookshaw

Winning the 2011 Grand National on Ballabriggs

It is probably fair to say that Maguire’s win in the Grand National was a little overshadowed. The winning trainer, Donald McCain Jr was winning his first Grand National, but being the son of Ginger McCain, who won the race four times including with Red Rum, meant that he saw plenty of the spotlight.

The horse was owned by Trevor Hemmings, a likeable owner who had a big interest in the Grand National every year, again another figure to take some of the spotlight away from Maguire. However, don’t let that lessen his feat, the horse was perfect on the day, with Maguire giving him a fantastic front running ride.

When needed, he allowed the horse to slow the pace down and get rest, ensuring he had enough to kick for home over the final fence and stay on up the run in. He won by two and a half lengths, repelling all challengers in the process, and it really was a master ride from a man who had shown a lot of skill doing it from the front, this time he did it in the biggest national hunt race in the world.

The race was recorded as being the second-fastest race at that time, so Maguire certainly didn’t go slow, which made his ride even better, he judged things perfectly for his mount.

One of the Most In-Demand Northern Jockeys

Away from the Grand National and it is fair to say that during the peak of his career, Jason Maguire was one of the most in-demand northern jockeys. Go to the likes of Hexham, Sedgefield, Newcastle, and anywhere in Scotland, and you would find a card that had him down for five, six and sometimes even seven rides on the day, with many of them in with a chance.

His partnerships varied throughout his career, having associations with Donald McCain Jr, Ferdy Murphy, Tom George and others. That failed to translate into overall dominance in the UK, and Maguire would rarely ride outside of the north, and when he did, it was usually for a northern trainer who was sending a couple of runners down south.

For that reason, where you watched racing and what you concentrated on probably shaped your opinion of Maguire and his success. To those in the south, he was just another regular jockey, but to those in the north, he was a master of riding from the front, knew the local tracks inside out, and was always in demand at those meetings.

Unfortunately, Maguire retired from the sport in 2016, announcing this on May 5th. He had a bad fall towards the end of 2015 and had hoped to recover but unfortunately wasn’t able to get back to the standard he required of himself. Rather than struggling, or potentially being a jockey that couldn’t deliver the same quality after a fall, instead, he decided to retire from the sport.

In terms of big races, there is only one that he will be remembered for and that is the 2011 Grand National win aboard Ballabriggs for his closest racing ally Donald McCain Jr.