Pat Smullen has thanked everyone for donations to cancer research raised which reached more than E2.5 million ($A4 millon.
The nine-time Irish champion jockey was at the centre of a fund-raising drive which culminated in the Pat Smullen Champions Race For Cancer Trials Ireland at the Curragh last week.
The one-mile event was won by Tony McCoy riding Quizical for Smullen’s good friends Sheila and John Lavery, while donations have continued to come into www.cancertrials.ie, the charity’s website, following a memorable weekend.
“I never dreamed that we would reach a figure like this and it is a tribute to the kind nature of everyone in the racing and breeding industry – I am overwhelmed!” Smullen said.
“Sunday at the Curragh was a special day and a huge ‘thank you’ to everybody who came along.
“I don’t think we’ll ever see a race like that again and I owe so much to my good friends, the nine champion jockeys, who came out of retirement to ride in it, as well as the race sponsors, owners and trainers who made the race possible.
“I also want to thank everybody in Horse Racing Ireland for their energy, ideas and encouragement throughout the campaign, the Longines Irish Champions Weekend committee, the Curragh, Leopardstown and the IHRB, the media, all the volunteers and everybody who played a role in helping us achieve our goals.
“Having worked with the team in Cancer Trials Ireland, I am excited with how they can make your donations work to give hope to those families affected by cancer. A sincere thank you to one and all.”
Smullen was forced to retire from the saddle in May last year to undergo treatment for pancreatic cancer.
He had hoped to ride in his own race but was ruled out because he needed further treatment.
Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said Smullen was a hero.
“Pat Smullen achieved so much in his riding career and was a hero of Irish racing in the saddle – but what he has achieved over the past few weeks shows the true measure of the man,” he said.
“Pat’s selfless ability to inspire and lead people gave the entire industry a reason to join together and support an incredibly worthy cause.
“The Champions Race he delivered on Sunday was one of those moments we will never forget and the tireless fundraising that ran in tandem with it has the ability to change people’s lives.”