JT (John Thomas) McNamara tributes

JT McNamara tributes
14 March 2012; Jockey John Thomas McNamara, aboard Teaforthree, celebrates after winning the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Steeple Chase. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Tributes from the world of racing and beyond have been paid to much loved former amateur jockey JT (John Thomas) McNamara.

McNamara was paralysed after a fall at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival. He died Monday night aged just 41.

McNamara, a father-of-three, was a leading amateur rider before being seriously injured.

He fractured two vertebrae in his neck after being thrown from his horse Galaxy Rock in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup on 14 March, 2013.

He moved back home to Limerick in 2014 after being discharged from the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre.

Adrian McGoldrick, senior medical officer for the Irish Turf Club, said: “I’ve just spoken to his wife Caroline and I can confirm JT passed away peacefully during the night.”

McNamara rode four winners at the Cheltenham Festival, including guiding Teaforthree to victory in the 2012 National Hunt Chase.

JT McNamara tributes
 Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

He won the same race in 2002 on Rith Dubh, was successful in the Cross-Country Chase with Spot The difference three years later and won the 2007 Fox Hunter Chase.

AP McCoy, 20-time champion jump jockey, said on BBC Radio: “He was every bit as experienced as me and talented as I am and he had a fall. He was a good jumper, it was one of those things, he landed badly. I will never forget today for the rest of my life.

“He was a very tough man, mentally tough – and has been since his accident. He was a brilliant man and a brilliant amateur jockey. The last three and a half years have been tough for him and his family – his wife was unbelievable for him. It is a sad day.

“He made the best of it and tried to make it easy for others around him.

“I know he will want us to remember his good days. He was fantastic person, jockey and human being.”

A plaque above where he sat at Cheltenham celebrates his 16 winners at the track, including four at the Festival.

When Bruce Springsteen played in Limerick, he dedicated his song My Hometown to JT.

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