Champion jockey Pat Smullen dies aged 43 following cancer battle

Nine-time Irish champion jockey Pat Smullen has passed away at the age of 43.

The Racing Post broke the sad news on social media this evening, tweeting: "The Racing Post is sad to report that nine-time Irish champion jockey and 12-time European Classic winner Pat Smullen has died at the age of 43.

"His family have said that he died this evening in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin."

Smullen, who enjoyed 12 European Classic victories, was forced to abruptly retire from the saddle following a pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March 2018 and had suffered a relapse in recent months.

He was Irish flat racing champion jockey on nine occasions (the first won in 2000, the most recent coming in 2016) and won some of the most famous races in the sport, including the Epsom Derby, the Ascot Gold Cup, the Champion Stakes and the 2,000 Guineas.

The highlight of his career was winning the 2016 Investec Derby at Epsom aboard Harzand for his long-time employer Dermot Weld.

In 2001, Smullen married former trainer Frances Crowley, the first woman to train an Irish Classic winner. They have three children together - Hannah, Paddy and Sarah.

Tributes have flooded in for the popular jockey this evening, with friends and fans taking to Twitter to remember a man who left a lasting impact on the sport.

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