ANDREW McNamara, the 15-time Grade 1 winning National Hunt jockey has announced his retirement from race riding to take up racehorse training later in the year.
The County Limerick jockey’s career has spanned 16 years. Andrew had his first ride on his father’s (Andrew McNamara Senior) 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 Dad.
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.
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.
Andrew 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.”
Andrew McNamara went on to say: “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.”
Brian Kavanagh, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland said: “Andrew is a very popular jockey and has ridden some brilliant winners over the years including Newmill in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham and Bluesea Cracker in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. He has been very active on the Injured Jockeys Fund Committee and I have enjoyed seeing him progress to TV presenting on RTÉ Racing. I look forward to watching him train winners in the future.”
Andrew McNamara is 32 and from Croom in Co Limerick.
Andrew has risen to the very top end of the Irish National Hunt riding ranks and comes from a well-established racing family. His father and namesake being a regular visitor to the winner’s enclosure as a trainer over the last number of decades, while his brother Robbie was a very successful amateur and professional rider.