Heartbreak City and Adam McNamara captured the Ebor last weekend
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
JOCKEY Adam McNamara has spoken of his devastation at the death of friend and mentor Tom O’Ryan, who he credited with helping him improve as a rider since he joined the Richard Fahey stable last year.
McNamara was praised for his winning ride on Heartbreak City in the Ebor at York last weekend and has partnered 33 other winners in a breakout season in Britain after moving across from Ireland.
But it was the assistance and pointers provided to him by O’Ryan that McNamara says is the reason behind him unlocking his potential on the course this season.
He said: “In my first few weeks riding I was becoming increasingly impatient with myself. I wanted everything to happen yesterday and this was evident in my riding. That period of frustration ended thanks to Tom, who would speak to me after every race.
“With Tom’s help I soon learned to be patient and he helped me to improve beyond recognition. I’m sure winning the Ebor put a smile on his face, and although I didn’t get the chance to see him, I know he would have been proud.”
‘A brilliant listener’
O’Ryan, who died on Tuesday aged 61, was credited with helping the careers of a number of riders including the likes of former champion Paul Hanagan.
And it was his ability to talk to and listen to riders in their early days that McNamara feels was such a vital part in the success O’Ryan played in the careers of so many jockeys, including his own.
“Tom was not only a great mentor, but he was a true friend. He has been hailed as a great speaker, but I think his best quality was that he was brilliant listener,” McNamara said in his blog on Harrowells.
“Whether you were having a good or bad day, Tom was only a phone call away. He would listen to every detail before offering his opinion, and there was never a time when I didn’t feel better after a conversation with him. He had time for everyone, no matter their status.”
He added: “I simply don’t have the words in my vocabulary to describe how much of an incredible man he was, nor could I describe how much we will miss him.
“I know how lucky I was to have him on my side, and I know that it’s not going to be easy without him, but I’ll continue to work hard and be patient like he taught me, and I hope that I’ll make him proud. I will miss him more than I can explain”.
Beverley to mark O’Ryan’s passing
Beverley Racecourse revealed on Friday that they will be remembering O’Ryan on Saturday’s Beverley Bullet card, renaming the closing race (6.05) in his honour.
O’Ryan’s first win as a jockey came at the course in the East Gate Apprentice Handicap in July 1972 and that is the name that the 6.05 will now carry. McNamara will not be riding, but Richard Fahey is represented by Ingleby Spring.
Beverley chief executive Sally Iggulden said: “The outpouring of emotion when Tom left us speaks volumes about how much he was loved in racing. Beverley is a much poorer place without him. We will miss him dearly.”
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