Racing sadness at news of McNamara paralysis

Jockey JT McNamara is said to be in a "very positive" frame of mind despite the injury. Credit: PA

Grand National-winning rider Mick Fitzgerald has spoken of his sadness and of the risks involved in racing after it was revealed by the family of rider JT McNamara that the serious neck injury he suffered in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival has led to paralysis.

Leading amateur McNamara, 37, was injured when Galaxy Rock fell at the first fence in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup and had to be airlifted to Bristol, where he remains, although plans are to be made for a transfer to Dublin in due course.

Fitzgerald told Sky Sports News: "It's a mixture of sadness, it's the end of a great career for a jockey who was an amateur and did it because he loved the game.

"When it happened at the time a sombre (mood) descended on Cheltenham, everyone had everything crossed and plenty of people were praying their worse fears wouldn't be realised.

"This is the end of a glittering career."

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Jockey paralysed after fall

Amateur Irish jockey JT McNamara has suffered paralysis as a result of his fall at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this month.