Pat Smullen: Nine-time Irish champion jockey dies at 43

Pat Smullen

Champion jockey Pat Smullen has been remembered as a gentleman and a serious generational talent as tributes flooded in following his death.

The global racing community was rocked on Wednesday morning after it emerged that Pat Smullen had died in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin from pancreatic cancer. He leaves behind his wife Frances and their three children Hannah, Paddy and Sarah.

Although there were positive signs from his treatment he was unable to ride in the legends race when he suffered a relapse. He was at the centre of a drive by the Irish horse racing and breeding industry over Longines Irish Champions Weekend in September 2019 which culminated in an incredible day at the Curragh exactly one year ago with the Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland.

Smullen was active in raising funds for cancer charities.

Smullen was stable jockey for trainer Dermot Weld from 1999 until his until his retirement on medical advice a year ago.

Taking over from fellow riding great Mick Kinane in 1999, Smullen was left with some pretty big shoes to fill.

A 12 time Classic victor, Smullen won a Derby double with Harzand in 2016.

Together they went on to secure iconic status with victory in the Irish Derby.

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It didn't take Pat Smullen long to show us all what he can do here in the U.S. at none other than the Breeders' Cup.

"Since his diagnosis he did wonderful work fundraising for charity and he battled this disease with great heart and it's hard to believe he has passed at such a young age".

"All our thoughts are with Pat's wife Frances, children Hannah, Paddy and Sarah, his mum Mary, brothers Ger, Sean and Brian, his close friends and colleagues in the weighroom, trainer Dermot Weld and all the staff at Rosewell House".

Today is the saddest of days as Irish racing comes to terms with the loss of one of our brightest stars.

"He was a fierce competitor, mentally and physically very strong, you couldn't intimidate him or bully him, you just knew that there was going to no gimmes when you met Pat in head-to-head in a finish". There's been such a reaction around Irish racing and such a degree of shock, which shows the high regard in which Pat was held.

"His achievements in the saddle pale in comparison to his qualities out of it".

"He was a global figure in racing, but his reaction to his diagnosis and the fundraising he did previous year in particular was really wonderful".

"It's just horrifically sad".

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