The most welcome news in racing of the last two weeks was the announcement that amateur jockey JT McNamara is out of his induced coma and fully conscious.
It will still take some time before he is anywhere near fully recovered, but already he has made tremendous progress after he was airlifted to Bristol’s Frenchay Hospital after his fall from Galaxy Rock in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham.
Then, the fear was that he had suffered brain damage, but it was confirmed a few days ago that was not the case.
Yesterday Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Medical Officer for the Irish Turf club and Lisa Hancock, chief executive officer of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund issued a statement on behalf of McNamara’s family. It said, “"JT McNamara remains in a stable condition at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. He is now fully alert but requires full time ventilation at present. In due course JT will be transferred to the National Spinal Unit at The Mater Hospital, Dublin where he will be closer to his family. His wife Caroline and family very much appreciate everyone's continued good wishes and prayers on JT's behalf."
Camaraderie in the weighing room has rarely been so clearly displayed as in the aftermath of the injury to McNamara. Jockeys and trainers throughout the remainder of the Festival showed little interest in jubilant celebrations. Instead, their post race comments first referred to McNamara and his injury, and only then to their achievement in winning the race.
Let’s hope that McNamara’s recovery continues apace and at the right time he is able to ride and race again.