Smullen returns to the saddle for charity race

Smullen returns to the saddle for charity race
Ballinrobe Broder and Ambrose McCurtin (near) jump the last beating Staged Engagement (far) to win The Edward Fitzgerald & Son Solicitors Centenary Handicap Hurdle. Healy Racing Photo

By Nick Robson

Pat Smullen will return to the saddle on Irish Champions Weekend in September for the Pat Smullen Champions Race For Cancer Trials Ireland. The multiple Group One-winning jockey announced his retirement in May, having undergone treatment for pancreatic cancer after being diagnosed in March of last year.

Smullen had already been announced as the ambassador for Longines Irish Champions Weekend - and he has now confirmed he will be one of 10 legendary jockeys to take part in the charity race at the Curragh on Sunday, September 15.

He said: “I think most people are aware of what I and my family went through last year, and I am indebted to the brilliant people who looked after me in St Vincent’s Hospital.

I want to try in some way to repay them and would dearly love the support of everybody in raising money to help fund vital cancer research, and this exciting champions race is one of a number of fundraising activities over the weekend.

The other nine riders to take part alongside Smullen will be announced later this week.

The nine-time champion jockey added: “We want to put on a real show on Longines Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh and bring together a group of former champions that are sure to be as competitive today as they were throughout their careers.

“I’ve had a tremendous reaction from my former colleagues, and they’ve all been incredibly supportive. This race may be for charity, but every one of these guys was ruthlessly competitive in the saddle - and I’d have my doubts that time has dimmed that ambition!”

The Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland will be run after the Comer Group International Irish St Leger, the feature race on day two of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend.

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