Top jockey JT McNamara in coma as horse falls

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Leading amateur jockey JT McNamara was in a coma in hospital last night after being injured when his horse fell at the Cheltenham festival.

The Irishman, 37, fell at the first fence while riding Galaxy Rock for trainer Jonjo O’Neill in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup yesterday afternoon.

McNamara’s uncle, the trainer Andrew McNamara, said: “I’ve been told that JT is in an induced coma at the moment.”

The jockey was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol by air ambulance from the Gloucestershire course.

Medical staff were quickly on hand to treat McNamara after the fall and it was decided to transfer him for further treatment without delay.

Course spokesman Andy Clifton said: “JT McNamara is being transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol via air ambulance and continues to undergo assessment.”

The accident cast a shadow over proceedings at the racetrack yesterday, where the feature race, the Ladbroke World Hurdle, was won by Solwhit.

The highlight of the Festival takes place today, with the running of the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase at 3:20pm.