Sam Twiston-Davies - Hello Bud - Aintree

The retired Hello Bud has been given to jockey Sam Twiston-Davies

  PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)  

Twiston-Davies hails 'legend' as Bud retired

JOCKEY Sam Twiston-Davies has hailed Hello Bud as a "legend" after the gallant 14-year-old was retired following his brilliant win in the Becher Chase at Aintree last week.

Trained and owned by Nigel Twiston-Davies, Hello Bud had been under consideration for the John Smith's Grand National but the trainer has decided to bow to his son's wishes and retire the nine-time winner.

Sam Twiston-Davies partnered Hello Bud on his final 17 starts - including a memorable fifth in the 2010 Grand National when the jockey was just 17 - and he is already looking forward to days out with his old friend.

"A very happy retirement to the legend that is Hello Bud. Will miss him at Aintree but will never forget," he wrote on Twitter.

"Anyone who wants to see Budley he'll be out hunting with the North Cotswold's on Christmas Eve. I'll be the one at the front getting run away with!"

Twiston-Davies jnr received a surprise when reading Saturday's Racing Post as his dad revealed he planned to give Hello Bud to his son to enjoy an active retirement.

Nigel Twiston-Davies said: "I didn't rush into making a final decision but I've decided he should go out on a high. He is one of the family and will live with us forever."

As sporting sights go, few match the sheer excitement of 40 horses thundering towards the first fence at Aintree for the John Smith's Grand National.

A race steeped in history that always provides a story, the Grand National is the ultimate test of endurance and skill for both horse and jockey, as the pairing must navigate 30 treacherous fences, and then still have enough stamina to make a challenge on the run-in.

To manage a clear round in the 4m4f epic is no mean achievement, with the fences notoriously difficult and offering unique challenges.

Over the years, there have been countless memorable moments, Devon Loch's phantom leap in the 1956 contest, Foinavon's shock 100-1 win in 1967 and the brilliance of Red Rum, who took the chase on three occasions in 1973, 74 and 77.

In 1981 Aldaniti and Bob Champion completed a heartwarming tale when winning the race, as Aldaniti had recovered from a career-threatening injury while jockey Champion had battled back from cancer.

In 2011 the race provided another fairytale story as Donald McCain emulated his father and Aintree legend Ginger when winning with Ballabriggs - and that came just a year after champion jockey Tony McCoy finally gained victory in the race at the 15th time of asking.