McNamara put in an induced coma after Cheltenham fall

Irish amatuer jockey airlifted from track to Bristol hospital

An air ambulance  carrying injured irish amateur jockey JT McNamara takes off from Cheltenham racecourse.   Photograph: David Davies/PA

An air ambulance carrying injured irish amateur jockey JT McNamara takes off from Cheltenham racecourse. Photograph: David Davies/PA

Thu, Mar 14, 2013, 19:47

Leading Irish amateur jockey JT McNamara is in a coma in hospital after being injured when his horse fell at the Cheltenham Festival, his uncle said tonight.

The 37-year-old from Co Limerick fell at the first fence while riding Galaxy Rock for trainer Jonjo O’Neill in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup this afternoon.

McNamara’s uncle, the trainer Andrew McNamara, said: “I’ve been told that JT is in an induced coma at the moment.”

The jockey was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol by air ambulance from the Gloucestershire course.

Medical staff were quickly on hand to treat McNamara after the fall and it was decided to transfer him for further treatment without delay.

Course spokesman Andy Clifton said: “JT McNamara is being transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol via air ambulance and continues to undergo assessment.”

Meanwhile, Davy Russell will miss the ride aboard Sir Des Champs in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup after suffering a punctured lung during the second day of the Festival.

The rider took a crashing fall from Un Beau Matin at the final flight in Wednesday’s Coral Cup but was fit enough to take up his first two mounts on Thursday’s card.

However, after finishing unplaced on both Argocat in the Jewson Novices’ Chase and Stonemaster in the Pertemps Final, Russell was ruled out for the rest of the meeting.

Bryan Cooper assumed his mounts aboard First Lieutenant in the Ryanair Chase and Bog Warrior in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, but Russell’s absence leaves trainer Willie Mullins and owners Gigginstown House Stud with a problem ahead of Friday’s feature event.

Russell has ridden Sir Des Champs on his last six outings, including his Irish Hennessy win.

Gigginstown manager Eddie O’Leary said: “Davy has a problem with his lung and he’s down for the week now.

“I’m not sure (who will ride Sir Des Champs), we’ll have a good chat with Willie about it first.”

Michael O’Leary, owner of Gigginstown House Stud, confirmed that Russell had a punctured lung.

“He has a punctured lung which he’s had to have drained,” said O’Leary.

“He’s been stood down for today and tomorrow, he might need a small operation.

“It’s quite serious and he can’t travel home. His health is my biggest concern.

“I don’t know who will ride Sir Des Champs, we’ll talk to Willie overnight and decide who is the best available.”

The track confirmed Russell had been taken to Cheltenham General Hospital for further treatment.

A tweet from Cheltenham read: “Davy Russell has suffered a spontaneous punctured lung. He has been treated at the course and is off to hospital.

“He is being accompanied by our senior doctor and is expected to stay in overnight for observation. Our best wishes to Davy.”

JT McNamara was airlifted to hospital after being injured in a fall. The renowned amateur rider was partnering Galaxy Rock for trainer Jonjo O’Neill in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup when the pair crashed out at the first fence.

Medical staff were quickly on hand to treat McNamara and it was decided to transfer him to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol for further treatment without delay.

Course spokesman Andy Clifton said: “JT McNamara is being transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol via air ambulance and continues to undergo assessment.”