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Leading jump jockey Norman Williamson, 34, has announced his retirement from race riding on medical grounds.

A long-standing problem with his neck was aggravated by a recent heavy fall at Downpatrick and London specialists have advised the jockey to hang up his boots.

“A scan showed that the discs in my neck were not settling down and another fall could put me in serious trouble,” says Norman, who has no concrete plans for the future but may increase his TV work alongside preparing youngsters for the sales.

“Stormin’ Norman”, as he is affectionately known in jump racing circles, has won a total of 1,268 races during his career and finished runner-up to champion jockey Richard Dunwoody in the 1994/95 jockeys’ championship with 130 winners.

Norman’s record in the saddle includes 11 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, including the impressive feat of winning both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle in 1995.

Although he was never first past the post in the Grand National, his second placed ride on Mely Moss, behind the winning Papillon in 2000, will be fondly remembered by jump racing enthusiasts.