AP McCoy returned to the saddle this afternoon, finishing in first place in the Pat Smullen Champions Race at The Curragh.
The race is held to raise vital funds for Cancer Trials Ireland. It is named in honour of the legendary jockey Pat Smullen, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of last year.
It had been that Smullen would have been able to take part in today's race, but he unfortunately had to withdraw due to a recent health setback that requires him to undergo further chemotherapy.
Nine jockeys took part, with AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh, Charlie Swan, Johnny Murtagh, Richard Hughes, Paul Carberry, Joseph O’Brien, Kieren Fallon and Ted Durcan taking to the saddle.
It would be McCoy that would be first home, onboard the Sheila Lavery trained Quizical.
The Sheila Lavery trained Quizical lands Pat Smullen Champions Race For Cancer Trials Ireland, driven home by the legend @AP_McCoy. What a brilliant sight! #ChampionsRace #LICW19 pic.twitter.com/2PXjuNXTVL
— Horse Racing Ireland (@HRIRacing) September 15, 2019
After claiming first place, he paid tribute to Smullen by attempting to replicate the famous flying dismount. It didn't go too well.
— William Hill Racing (@WillHillRacing) September 15, 2019
There were some touching moments soon after, as McCoy met with his friend and colleague.
He wasn't well enough to ride in the race but it's great to see @patjsmullen alongside @AP_McCoy after the #ChampionsRace raising money for @cancertrials_ie@curraghrace #LICW19 pic.twitter.com/rZE6biIuwu
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) September 15, 2019
Emotional stuff on a fantastic occasion. All for a good cause too.