AAP Horse Racing

Racing mourns champion Irish rider Smullen

By AAP Newswire

Nine-time Irish champion jockey and multiple Classic-winning rider Pat Smullen has died at the age of 43.

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

He rode Vinnie Roe in three Melbourne Cups and finished second on the outstanding Irish-trained stayer in the 2004 race won by Makybe Diva.

Smullen's initial treatment had been positive, but he suffered a relapse and was forced to abandon plans to ride in the Pat Smullen Champions Race For Cancer Trials Ireland at the Curragh in September last year.

Born in County Offaly, on May 22, 1977, Smullen, the son of a farmer and who became involved with horses at the age of 11, went on to form a formidable alliance with Vinnie Roe's trainer Dermot Weld, taking over in 1999 from another riding great - Mick Kinane.

Among their greatest triumphs was the Derby at Epsom in 2016 with Harzand.

The pair went on to secure the Irish Derby and cement the legacy of a rider who enjoyed his first victory at Dundalk on June 11, 1993.

Smullen leaves wife Frances and their three children - Hannah, Paddy and Sarah.