Jockey Pat Smullen has announced his retirement from the saddle. Smullen who is 41 was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of last year and has been undergoing treatment.
The Offaly man said he was announcing on the back of medical advice. Speaking to throughbreddailynews.com he said “I have had a frank discussion with my doctors and I gave them the full details of the way of life of a jockey, and what I’d have to go through to get back to full fitness, to get back to the weight that I need to be, and to compete at the level I want to compete at.” He continued “They advised me that I should not compromise my immune system in any way. So, taking that into account, the right thing for me to do is to call it a day”. He said that he was fortunate to ride some very good horses and work with some very good trainers. He said he also hopes that he can continue to work in racing.
Leading the tributes former jockey Mick Kinnane said “Pat has come through a tough time and it’s good to see he’s got his health back, which is obviously the main thing. “He’s been a very good jockey and can be very proud of the career he’s had.”We had some good scraps and some great times, on and off the track. Hopefully, they’ll continue.”
Aidan O’Brien who won with 14/1 shot Hermosa in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last weekend as well as Magnia Grecia in the 2000 Guineas said “Pat was second to none, both as a jockey and a horseman. As a human being he has inspired people all over the world, especially with the way he has dealt with and spoken about his illness”.
Smullen ends his career as 9 times Ireland flat jockey champion. Notable wins came in the Irish 1000 Guineas aboard Nightime in 2006 and Bethrah in 2010. He also won the Irish Derby twice with Grey Swallow in 2004 and Harzand in 2016. He won the Epsom Derby in 2016 also with Harzand. Ascot Gold Cup in 2010 aboard Rite of Passage.
We wish Pat the best of luck in his future endeavors.