Cheltenham honour for JT McNamara

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  • The late JT McNamara will be honoured by a race run in his name at the Cheltenham Festival next year.

    The racecourse has announced that the four-mile National Hunt Chase, on Tuesday, 14 March 2017, will be run in memory of the former amateur jockey, who died aged 41 on 26 July this year.

    JT rode more than 700 winners in point-to-points and under Rules, including 16 wins at Cheltenham.

    In 2002, he and Rith Dubh won the race that is to be held in his honour next year.

    His wife Caroline said: “We are humbled and overwhelmed by the continued support we receive from everyone.

    “John Thomas was never one for the limelight during his career, but I am sure that he would want his life remembered for his achievements and success, especially those 16 wins at Cheltenham.

    “The race being run in his name at the Festival is a huge honour in his memory.”

    JT’s riding career ended after he broke two vertebrae in his neck in a fall while riding Galaxy Rock in an amateurs’ chase in 2013, leaving him paralysed from the neck down.

    Ian Renton, regional director of Jockey Club Racecourses South West, said: “We are delighted Caroline has agreed that Cheltenham will remember J T McNamara at next year’s Festival.

    “It seems fitting that his name will be associated with the National Hunt Chase, which he won twice during his career as well as 14 other races here at Cheltenham.

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    “JT was very much known as the ‘King of the Banks’ from his cross-country performances at Cheltenham and in Ireland.

    “He continues to be much missed within the whole racing community.”

    The National Hunt Chase has been run 146 times since its inception in 1860, more than any other race at the Festival.

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