Pat Smullen, the nine-time Irish champion jockey, has announced his retirement from race riding.
Smullen, 41, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2018 and has subsequently been undergoing treatment. While his recovery from illness continues to be positive, he has decided, on medical advice, to call time on his career in the saddle.
Writing in his weekly TDN column, 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've been very fortunate through my career to meet some great people and to ride some very good horses. I have a lot of cherished memories of a great career, and I'm very thankful for that. Now it's the second chapter of my life. I think everyone has gathered by now that horses are everything in my life. I know nothing else and I'm determined that I'll still work within the industry and, hopefully, I can be of some benefit.”
Read Pat Smullen's column here in full, in which he reflects on his successful career as a multiple Classic-winning jockey and acknowledges the people and horses who helped his rise to the top of the sport.