Legendary Irish jockey Pat Smullen dies aged 43 in Dublin hospital

Legendary Irish jockey Pat Smullen dies aged 43 in Dublin after losing battle with pancreatic cancer

  • Smullen retired in May 2019 after completing treatment for pancreatic cancer
  • Smullen was initially given a clean bill of health but recently suffered a relapse
  • His death was announced a year after a legends race he organised raised £2.3m

The world of racing was in mourning on Tuesday night after the death of nine-time Irish champion jockey Pat Smullen was announced at the age of 43,

Smullen, who had been battling pancreatic cancer since March 2018, died in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

Smullen, a 12-time European Classic winner, enjoyed a long association with trainer Dermot Weld and their wins together included the 2016 Derby on Harzand.

Legendary jockey Pat Smullen had been battling Pancreatic cancer since March 2018

Smullen was initially given a clean bill of health last year and threw his weight behind organising a racing legends race at the Curragh which raised over €2.5million (£2.3m) for a cancer charity.

However, he suffered a relapse in recent months and his condition deteriorated last week. He leaves behind his wife Frances and their three children Hannah, Paddy and Sarah.

Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, told the PA news agency: ‘Pat was one of our greatest stars. He was nine-times champion jockey, but in many ways his greatest achievements were out of the saddle.

‘Since his diagnosis, he did wonderful work fund-raising 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 Frances and his three children, Hannah, Paddy and Sarah, and all his friends and colleagues in the weighing room.

Jockey Smullen won the Derby at Epsom in 2016 on Harzand, trained by Dermot Weld

‘It’s a really sad day for Irish racing. Pat was one of the finest men you could hope to meet. 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.

‘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.

‘He was a global figure in racing, but his reaction to his diagnosis and the fund-raising he did last year in particular was really wonderful.

‘It’s just a sad, sad day.’

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