Nine of the greatest Flat and National Hunt jockeys of all
time feature among the declarations for day two of the Longines Irish Champions
Weekend at the Curragh.
The Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland at
4.50pm is race seven on a bumper nine-race card, and features a
never-to-be-repeated opportunity to see living legends take to the saddle for
the last time.
Paul Carberry, Charlie Swan, Ted Durcan, Kieren Fallon,
Richard Hughes, Tony McCoy, Johnny Murtagh, Joseph O’Brien and Ruby Walsh will
all take their mounts for the race which has been created by nine-time Irish
champion jockey Pat Smullen to increase awareness of pancreatic cancer and to
raise much-needed funds for upcoming cancer trials.
“I’m so grateful to these lads for coming out of retirement
to ride in the race, it looks like the race of a lifetime and I’m just
disappointed that I can’t ride in it! I know that it has meant a few gruelling
weeks for some of them as they get fit for it and I really do appreciate it,”
“This race will hopefully raise awareness of pancreatic
cancer but it is also going to contribute to our goal this weekend of raising
as much money as possible for Cancer Trials Ireland, who has two vital cancer
trials ready to go.
“The generosity people have shown has been heart-warming.
Within 24 hours we had found sponsors for all of the jockeys and that’s a
credit to the generosity of Adare Manor, Ballymore Properties, Bar One Racing,
Betfair, BetVictor, the INBA, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and SkyBet, as well as The
Underwriting Exchange, The Patron Group and Racing TV. Thanks to one and all.”
The Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland has
attracted a competitive field, topped by the 90-rated Quizical, trained by
Sheila Lavery, which will be ridden by 20-time British champion Jumps jockey
Two-time Irish champion Joseph O’Brien rides the intriguing
The Game Of Life, which he also trains, while Ruby Walsh rides the experienced handicapper
Aussie Valentine for trainer-in-form Ado McGuinness. Charlie Swan links up with
Yuften, most recently seen finishing seventh in the Tote Irish Cambridgeshire.
Paul Carberry teams up with the classy Katiymann for trainer
Michael Halford and owner Paul Rooney. Ted Durcan, a close friend of Smullen and
a rider who has had success in the saddle for trainer Dermot Weld in Dubai,
again joins up with the Roswell House maestro to take the ride on the
progressive three-year-old Kattani.
Trainer Ger Lyons ran a hugely successful social media
campaign to poach the services of Johnny Murtagh. As of declaration time the
‘What’s Johnny worth?’ fund had swelled to €17,000 – enough for Lyons and
Murtagh to renew a partnership that enjoyed so much success, including at Group
1 level when Lightening Pearl won the Cheveley Park Stakes in 2011. Murtagh
rides Red Striker for Lyons in the colours of red-hot owner David Spratt.
Kieren Fallon lurks dangerously at the bottom of the weights
on the unexposed three-year-old Recent Revelations for trainer Gordon Elliott,
while recent Gowran Park winner Finding Nero will be partnered by Richard
“I’m delighted with the quality of the race, both in terms
of the incredible champions who will ride in it, as well as a competitive field
of horses that will give us great excitement on Sunday. It’s a proper race too
with all horses running off their correct marks, which is what the jockeys
wanted,” says Smullen.
“Without the horses though, we wouldn’t have a race so a big
thanks to the trainers and the owners of Sunday’s field, most of whom I had the
pleasure to ride for during my career.”