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Former Champion Jockey Pat Smullen Retires From The Saddle After Illness

Former Champion Jockey Pat Smullen Retires From The Saddle After Illness
By Aonghus Ó Maicín

Nine-time Irish champion jockey Pat Smullen has retired this morning after a hugely successful career in the saddle.

The 41-year-old was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer early last year though he is already believed to be well on his way to recovery. As a result of his recovery, the jockey spoke earlier this year of his desire to get back in the saddle, but he has now decided to call it a day upon the advice of medical professionals.

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Smullen broke the news in his weekly column for Thoroughbred Daily News, revealing the hard road back into a racing environment was just too much for his body to endure.

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.

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.

I’m sure everyone will understand that while it’s sad and difficult for me, it’s not as difficult as I thought it might be because I see the bigger picture. My health has to come first now, and I can’t compromise that.

The Offaly man struck up a successful partnership with Curragh-based trainer Dermot Weld in 1999, before going on to win numerous Group Ones and Classics in Ireland, Britain, France and the United States.

Throughout his career, he became renowned for wearing the silks of many of the most famous owners in the sport including the colours of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia's Juddmonte Farms, the Aga Khan and Moyglare Stud.

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