FIFTEEN-time Grade 1 winning National Hunt jockey Andrew McNamara, from Limerick, has announced his retirement from race riding to take up racehorse training later in the year.
Croom jockey McNamara will bring the curtain down on his distinguished 16-year career at the Tramore Festival this weekend.
At six foot, Andrew is one of the tallest jockeys in the weigh room and, due to ongoing back trouble, he has been advised to retire from race riding. Andrew plans to do the Turf Club trainers course in September and will continue working as a presenter for RTÉ Racing and as Secretary of the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund.
Limerick jockey McNamara said is looking forward to the next phase of his career, saying: “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. Horse racing is my way of life and I am looking forward to moving on to the next phase, training racehorses.
“The plan is to do the trainers course in September. I have been buying and selling a few horses in the last few years and am looking forward to running and selling them on – I really enjoy that aspect of the industry. Together with my wife Rhona, I have been busy throughout the summer at the sales and have bought some nice horses and am looking forward to the future with them.
“People might think that I am retiring due to my brother Robbie’s and my cousin JT McNamara’s injuries, but 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.”
Andrew had his first ride on his father, also Andrew, Nicholl Lady in May 2000, in a bumper at Killarney and went on to ride his first winner, La Captive in a bumper at Wexford in July 2002, also trained by his father. As a jockey, Andrew rode nearly 500 winners including 15 Grade 1s, among them, the 2005 Cheltenham Champion Chase on Newmill, the 2007 Irish Gold Cup on Beef Or Salmon, the 2008 Irish Champion Hurdle on Sizing Europe and the 2010 Irish Grand National on Bluesea Cracker.