National hunt jockey Mick Fitzgerald has announced he will be hanging up his boots.
The charismatic jockey is retiring from race-riding after sustaining neck and knee damage during a fall from L’Ami in the 2008 Grand National in April.
He subsequently underwent surgery to realign 3 vertebrae and 2 discs as well as extensive surgery on a damaged knee ligament.
The 38-year-old broke his neck in a fall in 2005 and returned to racing.
But after his latest injuries he has been advised to step down from the saddle.
Mick told H&H: “It is on the advice of my surgeons — the amount of metal and fused bone in my neck means it’s not as flexible as it used to be.
“If I had a bad fall the results could be catastrophic. I had no choice.
“I’m a little bit gutted that it wasn’t on my terms but it’s the only decision. After I was lying on my back behind the fence at Aintree and I couldn’t feel my body I’m happy not to have to be in that position again.”
In a glittering national hunt career Mick has a host of top races under his belt — including the 1999 Cheltenham Gold Cup on See More Business and the 1996 Grand National on Rough Quest.
And in 2003 he became only the 9th jump jockey to ride over 1,000 winners.
Following the decision Mick has confirmed to H&H that he is looking into an alternative career in racing broadcasting.