Top Irish amateur jockey JT McNamara is said to be comfortable in an English hospital after surgery on a serious neck injury sustained at the Cheltenham festival.

The 37-year-old from Limerick was injured in a first fence fall from Galaxy Rock in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.

McNamara was airlifted to hospital after being treated by the on-course medics and was put in an induced coma before his transfer to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

He underwent surgery on his fractured C3 and C4 vertebrae on Friday.

A statement on behalf of the McNamara Family was issued by Dr. Adrian McGoldrick, Turf Club senior medical officer, and Lisa Hancock, CEO of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

The statement read, “We can report that following lengthy surgery yesterday JT McNamara is in a stable condition. He remains in an induced coma at Frenchay hospital, Bristol.

“No further updates will be released until Tuesday, 19 March and the family politely request that the media do not contact Frenchay hospital direct.

“They would also like to thank everyone for their kind support and best wishes for JT.”

McNamara’s plight was a stark reminder of the reality of racing for the Irish who celebrated a record 14 winners at the festival on a week that saw Willie Mullins continue his winning form of late.

Highlight for many of the Irish punters was Barry Geraghty’s victory aboard Bobs Worth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup as he outstayed Tony McCoy and Sir Des Champs up the hill.

Geraghty was thinking of his fellow jockey McNamara afterwards and said, “I’d love to be happier.

ll we can think about is John Thomas McNamara. We just hope and pray to God he’s okay.

“This is a brilliant win, he is a gorgeous horse and he has a great attitude. He never traveled, he struggled on that ground, but he kept fighting.

“I knew three out I had five or six lengths to find, but I thought I had a good chance. He’s as game as a lion and he loves the job.”
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