Past pupil Andrew McNamara won the Irish Grand National on Easter Monday, riding the 25/1 mare Bluesea Cracker. The Irish Grand National, first run in 1870, is one of the most prestigious prizes that can be won in National Hunt racing, having been won in the past by racing legends such as Arkle, Flyingbolt and Desert Orchid.
Croom native Andrew has enjoyed an incredibly successful career to date, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. He hails from a very successful racing background, as his father Andrew Senior is a veteran and highly regarded horse trainer, having trained the Cheltenham Arkle Trophy winner Boreen Prince in 1985.
Winning the Irish Grand National is a superb individual achievement for any jockey, but Andrew has won at least one Grade 1/Grade A race in every season since 2005, which highlights him as one of the most talented jockeys in the profession. In 2005, he rode Hi Cloy to win the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown. In 2006, he won the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Newmill at Cheltenham. In 2007, he won the Irish Gold Cup on Beef or Salmon. In 2008 he won the Irish Champion Hurdle on Sizing Europe. In 2009 he won the Galway Plate on Ballyholland. Now, having already won the Irish Grand National in 2010, he’s looking forward to riding Ballyholland again, but this time it will be over the big Aintree fences in the English Grand National next Saturday. One way or the other, Andrew has been an enormous success as a jockey to date, and we wish him continued success over the coming years.
It should be mentioned that Andrew’s younger brother Robbie has also embarked upon a very successful riding career, becoming one of the country’s top amateur jockeys within a very short space of time. The fact that he is the number one stable amateur for Dermot Weld on the Curragh speaks volumes about his talents. In both 2008 and 2009 Robbie rode the winner of the Qualified Riders’ Amateur Handicap at the Galway festival, the top race in the country for amateurs.
We should be incredibly proud of the McNamara brothers achievements to date in one of the toughest and most demanding professions one can imagine. Long may their success continue!