THIS was a year in which Irish racing bid farewell to a pair of truly outstanding figures in J.T. McNamara and Francis Flood.

In July McNamara passed away at the age of 41, three and a half years after a fall at Cheltenham left him paralysed from the neck down. The multitude of heartfelt tributes that marked his passing is testament to his standing in the racing world. In an age where superlatives are used all too frequently McNamara was unquestionably a legendary figure and a hero.