Meanwhile in … Newmarket: race renamed in honour of Pat Smullen

Horse Racing Pat Smullen jockey
Much missed: Pat Smullen after his Derby success on Harzand in 2016. Photo: Racing and Sports

GB: Nine-time Irish champion jockey Pat Smullen, who died from cancer in September at the age of 43, will be honoured with a race in his name at next week’s Newmarket Craven meeting.

Smullen rode his first British Classic winner on the Rowley Mile with Refuse To Bend in the 2,000 Guineas in 2003, and now the Pat Smullen Memorial Handicap will take place over the same one-mile distance on Tuesday April 13, the first day of the three-day curtain raiser at the historic racecourse known colloquially as ‘Headquarters’.

Smullen’s close friend Ted Durcan is behind the tribute, having been one of nine retired stars of the weighing room to have ridden in the Pat Smullen Champions Race at the Curragh in 2019 which helped raise more than €2.5m for Cancer Trials Ireland in Smullen’s honour.

Pat Smullen: racing pays tribute after tragic death of nine-time Irish champion jockey

“There were a lot of people in England at the time of Pat’s funeral who weren’t able to pay their respects with all the Covid restrictions,” he explained. “I know many of us would have liked to have been able to hold a memorial service, which we weren’t able to do, and this is just hopefully a nice way to remember Pat.

“The Craven meeting is always a very exciting time and Pat had huge success over the years at the Rowley Mile,” he went on. “The team at Newmarket Racecourses were extremely helpful and were only too happy to stage a race in Pat’s name.”

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