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Prince William and Kate Middleton send heartfelt message to close friend after Grand National win

Sam Waley-Cohen as announced he will now retire from horse racing

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have shared a heartfelt message to their close friend Sam Waley-Cohen after he won the Randox Grand National Handicap Chase on 9 April.

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Sam won the historic horse racing competition in his final race as he now plans to retire. "Huge congratulations to @swaleycohen for winning the Grand National," the royal pair's social media accounts tweeted. They added: "What a way to retire!" 

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Kate and Sam, a dentist, became pals as young adults through his brother Tom, her childhood friend from Marlborough College, who died aged 20 from cancer.

She has kept in touch with his family for years, even helping raise money for the foundation founded in his name.

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In 2008 Kate was famously pictured falling over at a roller charity disco in aid of Tom's Ward, a unit at Oxford Children's Hospital.

Sam was also credited with reuniting Kate and William following their brief split in the years after they finished university, as he reportedly threw the party, at which they reportedly patched up their relationship with a heart to heart.

Kate and William shared this message with Sam

Sam, 39, is also a Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey and he confirmed his retirement two days before the Grand National.

"I think that is my 40th time riding here but Saturday will be my last ride as I’m going to retire, hopefully, in the Grand National,” he told ITV Racing.

"I’ve had such an amazing time, I’m 40 this year and I couldn’t have imagined the days that I’ve had. I'd love to do it at Aintree, a course that has been so special to me, and I just feel this is the right moment."

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Sam and Kate in 2008

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