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Tributes Paid To Pat Smullen Following Passing

The Rhode native was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018.

Tributes have poured in for Pat Smullen, who has died at the age of 43. 

The nine time flat racing Irish champion jockey was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of 2018. 

Last year, his Race For Cancer Trials Ireland at the Curragh raised 2 and a half million euro. 

A 12 time Classic winner, Offaly native Smullen won a Derby double with Harzand in 2016.

Former colleague in the weigh room Mick Fitzgerald has paid tribute:

Another former Irish flat champion jockey Johnny Murtagh says the sadness will extend far and wide:

Pat's early career was highlighted by his success in the apprentice championship in 1995 and again in 1996.

He rode his first Group 1 winner on the Tommy Stack-trained Tarascon in the Moyglare Stud Stakes in 1997 and for the next two decades dominated at the very top level, winning the biggest races in Ireland and Britain.

His first Classic came in 2001 aboard Vinnie Roe in the Irish St Leger and his greatest day in the saddle came aboard Harzand when winning a thrilling Epsom Derby in 2016.

The same horse gave Pat his second success in the Irish Derby at the Curragh later that month, 12 years after his first on Grey Swallow.

Pat’s nerve on the biggest days meant he was a ‘go-to’ big race jockey for many trainers and as well as Irish and English Classics, he also won eight times at Royal Ascot.

Weighroom colleagues acknowledge that his guidance and presence singlehandedly raised standards in Ireland and while Pat didn't ride again after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2018 and announced his retirement from the saddle in May 2019, he refused to let his diagnosis define him or deter him.

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.

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.

The Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, Brian Kavanagh has this to say about the Rhode man:

 

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