Sport

Tributes Pour In For 'Beautiful, Decent, And Kind' Champion Jockey Pat Smullen

Tributes Pour In For 'Beautiful, Decent, And Kind' Champion Jockey Pat Smullen”

Pat Smullen's final victor on the racetrack came at Dundalk in March 2018, when riding Togoville to victory for handler Anthony McCann.

"He was a great jockey and even better man".

Retired jockey Sir Anthony McCoy said: "Pat Sullen was an fantastic man a special person and great friend to us all".

A long-time ally of dual Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Dermot Weld, Smullen retired from race riding because of the illness in 2018.

"Pat was one of our greatest stars".

Smullen, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2018, died at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin on Tuesday evening.

Pat immediately set about fundraising for pancreatic cancer trials and awareness of pancreatic cancer research and his efforts saw more than €2.5m raised for Cancer Trials Ireland.

"When he was first diagnosed, it was not a good outcome".

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"I know he said that some of us were harder to persuade to ride than others, and it did take me a bit of time to think about it because I was a bit unfit at the time and anxious about making a show of myself".

In a post on his official Twitter account, Irish President Michael D. Higgins expressed "deep sadness at the untimely death of champion jockey Pat Smullen", saying his remarkable performances at home and overseas brought joy to so many.

15 September 2019; Pat Smullen, centre, with jockeys, back row from left, Johnny Murtagh, Joseph O'Brien, Paul Carberry, Charlie Swan, Richard Hughes and Kieren Fallon, front row, Ted Durcan, Ruby Walsh and AP McCoy, prior to Pat Smullen Champions Race For Cancer Trials Ireland during Day Two of the Irish Champions Weekend at The Curragh Racecourse in Kildare. "Deep down, I really loved the guy". He was champion jockey in Ireland on nine occasions, enjoying a tremendous partnership with trainer Dermot Weld.

In all he landed 1,892 victories in Britain and Ireland during a glittering career, having been apprentice champion jockey twice in his youth.

"Our thoughts, today and always, are with Pat's wife Frances, his children Hannah, Paddy and Sarah, and his wider family".

Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, was among those to pay tribute to Smullen as one of the true Irish greats of the sport.

"He was a pleasure to have anything to do with - his achievements in the saddle were one thing, but his qualities outside of it were something else".



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