McManus pays £20,000 for painting at JT fundraiser

Horse Racing tycoon JP McManus made the largest bid at a private auction that has raised around over €100,000 for paralysed Limerick jockey JT McNamara.

McManus pays £20,000 for painting at JT fundraiser

The Limerick horse owner paid £20,000 sterling (€23,383) for a painting of the jockey preparing to ride out in a point to point race.

The canvass painting of JT McNamara in action at Belharbour is entitled, ‘On the Way Down to the Start’.

The painting was donated to the auction by Co Limerick artists Ailbhe, Esther, and Louise Barrett, who run the Three Sisters Gallery.

It was one of 50 donated lots at an auction which was held in Cheltenham Racecourse. The money raised will go directly into a fund for the injured jockey, from Croom in Co Limerick.

McNamara (37) suffered paralysis after a fall from Galaxy Rock on March 14 as the Cheltenham Festival entered its third day.

The horse fell at the first fence with McNamara on board, leaving him with fractures to vertebrae in his neck. He continues to receive treatment at the spinal unit of Dublin’s Mater Hospital, where he was transferred from hospital in Bristol, a few weeks after the horror fall.

In a statement JT’s wife, Caroline, who attended the auction, thanked those who had offered their support.

“I would like to thank everyone who put such a lot time and effort into organising this great event, especially Cheltenham Racecourse and all the team at Jackdaws Castle (the stable house of Galaxy Rock trainer Jonjo O’Neill),” she said.

“I would also like to thank everybody for taking the time to come out to support John (JT). It means so much to John and I to know you are all rooting for him to get well.

“John is currently in the spinal unit of the Mater Hospital in Dublin where his main goal is to wean himself off ventilation. John is very determined to achieve this goal.

“For those of you who know John personally, you will know that his determination is unparalleled.

“It’s been a long road to date and there’s a long road ahead but knowing that we have so much love and support from all our family, friends and everyone in the racing community and beyond will no doubt continue to keep John’s spirits high during these difficult times and will help tremendously on his road to recovery.”

The charity evening held at the Cheltenham Gold Cup Suite, was organised by Jackdaws Castle.

Stars from the racing world turned out as did several personalities from the world of television.

Champion jockey Tony McCoy was present, as were Channel 4 horse racing pundits Alice Plunkett and Mick Fitzgerald (the former jockey), as well as top trainers David Pike and Rebecca Curtis.

“The support was overwhelming. A lot of people said they would support this and they did. It’s a great industry we work in. We look after our own,” said organiser Sophia Upton.

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