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Racing | Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive pays tribute to Pat Smullen

The world of horse racing and beyond, is tonight mourning the tragic death of nine time Champion Jockey Pat Smullen.

A native of Rhode, County Offaly, Smullen was a highly successful flat jockey and had a long-term racing partnership with trainer Dermot Weld; the two combined to bring the Aga Khan IV owned horse Harzand, to victory in the 2016 Epsom Derby in a dramatic race with a frantic finish.

Smullen bore his illness with typical grace and used his position to raise both funds and awareness of the condition.

Horse Racing Ireland chief executive Brian Kavanagh, this evening spoke to the PA News Agency on the passing of Smullen.

"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.

"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."

Smullen passed away at St Vincent’s Hospital in south Dublin. He is survived by his wife Frances and their 3 children Hannah, Paddy and Sarah.

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