Munster National renamed to honour JT McNamara

JT McNamara and Rith Dubh at the Cheltenham Festival

PICTURE: Mark Cranham ( Munster National to honour JT McNamara By Lewis Porteous 4:11PM 26 SEP 2016

THE Munster National at Limerick on October 9 has been renamed to honour John Thomas McNamara, the leading amateur rider who died earlier this year.

Born in Limerick in 1975, McNamara was widely considered one of the leading amateur riders of his generation, riding more than 600 winners in point-to-points, as well as enjoying success on the biggest stage with wins at the Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals.

Known universally as JT, the rider suffered catastrophic injuries in a fall on Galaxy Rock at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival. Paralysed from the neck down, he gained many admirers for his courage in the face of adversity before his death on July 26 aged 41.

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A phenomenal talent

"John Thomas McNamara and the Ladbrokes Munster National are two names which are synonymous with horse racing in Limerick," said Conor O'Neill, general manager of Limerick racecourse, after Monday's announcement.

He added: "John Thomas, a native of Croom, County Limerick will forever be fondly renowned as one of the greatest horsemen of all time after his passing in July.

"A highly regarded and well respected amateur jockey, John Thomas was a man with a phenomenal talent which he combined with extraordinary determination and incredible bravery to enjoy success at the highest levels.

"It is only fitting that the Ladbrokes Munster National is renamed as a tribute to the legendary John Thomas McNamara and it is an association that everybody at Limerick Racecourse is very proud to be a part of."

Talented rider

McNamara, who lived in his county of birth, is perhaps best remembered for his kid-glove ride on Rith Dubh in the 2002 National Hunt Chase, his first success at the Cheltenham Festival.

Spot Thedifference, who gave him one of four festival winners in the inaugural running of the Cross Country Chase in 2005, is another name forever synonymous with McNamara.

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