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'When I got the tube in my side, my lungs were punctured, I realised things were more serious then'

Robbie McNamara was due to ride Lord Windermere in the 2015 Aintree Grand National. The day beforehand, his life changed forever.

THE DAY BEFORE the 2015 Aintree Grand National, jockey Robbie McNamara was gearing up for one of the biggest races of his glistening career.

He was due to ride Lord Windermere, winner of the Gold Cup at Cheltenham the previous year. But first, before crossing the Irish Sea and heading for Liverpool, he just had to get through two races in Wexford.

McNamara’s first ride was a horse called Bursledon in the opening race of the card at 3.55pm. As it turned out, that was to be his last-ever race as a jockey.

This is Robbie McNamara’s story:

Source: The42.ie/YouTube

Rather than resenting horses, or the sport that took the use of his legs from him at the age of 26, McNamara has now fallen in love with training – a path he had always intended on following at some stage.

He was helped through the rehabilitation and low periods by his first cousin, John Thomas McNamara, who himself was paralysed from the neck down in a fall at Cheltenham in 2013; John Thomas sadly passed away in July of last year due to complications arising from the injury.

The fall may have called time on McNamara’s career as a jockey at 26-years-old, but not before fulfilled an ambition that had been eating away at him since he started riding.

Following in the footsteps of his father, who was also a successful trainer, McNamara has built up a yard of roughly 25 horses beside the Curragh, and he fully intends reaching the top of the sport as a trainer.

Source: The42.ie/YouTube

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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About the author:

Eoin Lúc Ó Ceallaigh

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