Close Brothers brand ambassador Sir AP McCoy is coming out of retirement to ride in the Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland on Sunday 15 September at the Curragh racecourse. AP was crowned Champion Jump Jockey for 20 consecutive years in the UK before retiring in 2015. The race will see 10 former Champions compete over a straight mile at the Curragh during day two of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend with proceeds going towards Cancer Trials Ireland, the leading cancer research trials organisation in Ireland. Pat Smullen battled pancreatic cancer following a diagnosis in March 2018.
AP told Close Brothers: “I wasn’t expecting to compete again but Pat is a life-long close friend and it’s for such a worthy cause and of huge importance to him. It will be a brilliant day and great fun to take part in. I’d like to say it’s all about taking part and not winning, but I’m not sure any of us can truthfully say that, as we are all still very competitive but it will be great fun. As long as I win. Only joking. It’s a strong line-up and it will be a battle to get into race shape, but there are battles…. and then there are battles… and after everything Pat and his family have been through recently, I hope we can help raise further awareness of, and proceeds towards, Pat’s charity Cancer Trials Ireland”.
Pat Smullen said: “We want to put on a real show on Longines Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh and bring together a group of former champions that are sure to be as competitive today as they were throughout their careers. I’ve had a tremendous reaction from my former colleagues and they’ve all been incredibly supportive. This race may be for charity but every one of these guys was ruthlessly competitive in the saddle and I’d have my doubts that time has dimmed that ambition! I think most people are aware of what I and my family went through last year and I am indebted to the brilliant people who looked after me in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. I want to try in some way to repay them and would dearly love the support of everybody in raising money to help fund vital cancer research, and this exciting champions race is one of a number of fundraising activities over the weekend.”
Horse Racing Ireland have today announced the line-up for the Pat Smullen Champion’s Race for Cancer Trials Ireland:
1. Pat Smullen: Nine-time Irish Champion Flat Jockey
2. AP McCoy: 20-time British Champion Jump Jockey
3. Ruby Walsh: 12-time Irish Champion Jump Jockey and most successful jockey at the Cheltenham Festival
4. Charlie Swan: Nine-Time Irish Champion Jump Jockey
5. Johnny Murtagh: Five-time Irish Champion Flat Jockey
6. Richard Hughes: Three-time British Champion Flat Jockey
7. Paul Carberry: Two-time Irish Champion Jump Jockey
8. Joseph O’Brien: Two-time Irish Champion Flat Jockey and Pat’s nephew
9. Kieran Fallon: Six-time British Champion Flat Jockey
10. Ted Durcan: Seven-time United Arab Emirates Flat Champion Jockey
More information on Cancer Trails Ireland can be found at http://www.cancertrials.ie where any donations can also be made.
Alongside our partnership with The Jockey Club, we are delighted to work with Sir AP McCoy, the renowned Champion Jockey, as Close Brothers Brand Ambassador. Throughout his unprecedented 23-year career, Sir AP McCoy has consistently displayed incredible resilience and an unwavering determination to succeed. Placing great importance on teamwork, commitment and trust, he represents a unique individual, whose values reflect those of Close Brothers, and our customers.