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Fairytale ending for McNamara

By Frank Brownlow

Andrew McNamara - who twice rode the winner of the Down Royal Festival feature, the Champion Chase - said he had "lived the dream" after ending his career in the best possible fashion.

McNamara received a tremendous reception after riding Most Honourable (5-1) to victory at Tramore last night, his last time in the saddle before embarking on a career as a trainer. He had announced his retirement just 24 hours previously.

McNamara is the brother of Robbie McNamara and cousin of JT McNamara, who have both suffered horrific injuries in recent years. But the jockey has been keen to stress a problem with his back and constant battle with the scales had more influence on his decision to quit.

The 32-year-old said: "I have had back trouble plaguing me and between my height and keeping my weight right I am now moving on to what I always wanted to do -training."

McNamara rode Beef Or Salmon and The Listener to victory in the Down Royal Festival showpiece, while he also famously enjoyed success in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the 2006 Cheltenham Festival when Newmill triumphed in the Wednesday feature.

As for last night's winner, he said: "I had a brilliant time, I absolutely loved it. I had a good few winners here at Tramore as well, it was always good to me."

He added: "I consider myself very privileged in my career. I left college to pursue my childhood dream as a jockey and have ridden just under 500 winners.

"I rode some brilliant horses along the way, that's why you get into it and I was lucky to ride a few of them."

He added: "Horse racing is my way of life and I am looking forward to moving on to the next phase."

Belfast Telegraph


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