On Tuesday evening the racing community was shocked to hear that leading Irish rider Pat Smullen had passed away at the age of 43 years old.
Today racing is in mourning and plenty of tributes are being displayed by leading figures in the sport alongside other friends and family, celebrating the great life he had.
The leading figure in Irish flat racing was an inspiration to many having been a nine-time Irish champion jockey and 12-time European Classic winner.
When the news broke back on March 26, 2018 that Smullen had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer the racing world was rocked.
And today all racing fans today are in mourning after it was revealed he had passed away late on Tuesday evening after he had suffered a relapse in recent months and his condition believed to have got much worse over the last week.
He had some superb days in the saddle during his career, not least when landing the Epsom Derby in 2016 on board Harzand for owners Aga Khan, which he rode numerous winners for during his time.
Smullen leaves wife Frances and their three children – Hannah, Paddy and Sarah, but he will never be forgotten by them and the whole of the racing world for what he has done in and out of the saddle.
Smullen, before his passing became an inspiration for many in the way that he put his own illness aside to help with fundraising initiatives for Cancer Trials Ireland, including an Irish Champions Weekend legends race that ultimately raised over €2.5 million for the cause.
(Credit ATR) Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, told the PA news agency: “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.
“He was a global figure in racing, but his reaction to his diagnosis and the fund-raising he did last year in particular was really wonderful.
“It’s just a sad, sad day.”