Nowadays, Jason Maguire is enjoying a second career as racing manager for owners Paul and Clare Rooney, for whom he rode as first-choice jockey during his highly successful National Hunt career. His riding career was brought to a premature end by two bad falls.
On the first occasion, at Stratford, on the eve of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, he was unseated at the second flight in a handicap hurdle and kicked in the abdomen by another horse, leaving him with a fractured sternum and internal bleeding, which resulted in having part of his liver removed while in an induced coma. He returned to race riding six months later, but another fall, at Musselburgh in February, 2015, required surgery on slipped discs in his back and led to another lengthy recovery period. Finally, in May, 2016, he bowed to the inevitable and called time on his riding career at the age of 36.
As a jockey, Jason Maguire will probably always be best remembered for winning the 2011 Grand National on Ballabriggs, trained by Donald McCain Jr., son of Donald “Ginger” McCain, who won the Aintree marathon three times with Red Rum in 1973, 1974 and 1977 and again with Amberleigh House. However, Maguire rode his first winner, Search For Peace, in a conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in September, 1999, and thereafter spent fruitful spells as stable jockey to Tom George and Donald McCain Jr..
All in all, he rode over 1,000 winners, including five at the Cheltenham Festival. His first Festival win came aboard the Polish-bred Galileo – not to be confused with the 2001 Derby winner of the same name – in the 2002 Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle. Maguire fondly recalled the victory, saying, “I was obviously shocked that he won it, but you never forget your first Festival winner, it was what I had been dreaming of doing since I was a kid.”