PHOTOS: Grieving daughter pays simple but powerful tribute to racing legend dad who is being laid to rest today

KildareNow reporter


KildareNow reporter


PHOTOS:  Daughter pays the simplest of tributes to racing legend who is laid to rest today

Hannah Smullen with her dad Pat

The eldest daughter of jockey Pat Smullen has paid a simple but powerful tribute to her late dad who passed away on Tuesday evening.

Aged just 43, he had fought a brave battle with pancreatic cancer.


Hannah Smullen posted three family photos on Twitter, including one with just her dad from a few years ago.

Then she added the simple words: "My hero."

Pat passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family at St Vincent’s Private Hospital.

 He is being laid to rest today in his native Rhode in Co Offaly and his funeral can be viewed online.

Son of the late Paddy Smullen, Pat is deeply regretted by his adoring wife Frances and sadly missed by his loving children Hannah, Paddy and Sarah.

He also leaves behind mother Mary, brothers Sean, Ger and Brian, cousins especially Alan and Ken, mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions there will be a Family Funeral on Friday at 2pm in St. Peter’s Church, Rhode, Co. Offaly, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.

(You can take part in Pat's Funeral Mass via Zoom, the Meeting ID is 6949803979 and the Passcode is 12345.)

A socially distanced crowd of racing fans gathered at the Curragh Racecourse on Wednesday afternoon as a hearse carrying the remains of the jockey  made a brief stop on its way from St Vincent's Hospital.

Dozens of people walked behind the hearse in silence as it paused for several moments outside the entrance to the Curragh where Pat had many of his famous wins.

The Curragh Racecourse posted the photos on Twitter and added: "Sincere condolences to Frances, Hannah, Paddy and Sarah and all his family and friends. Sleep well Pat. We will miss you terribly."

Pat's wife Frances accompanied by her children was presented with a floral wreath by Horse Racing Ireland boss Brian Kavanagh and Curragh Racecourse chairman Padraig McManus.

The former stable jockey of Dermot Weld near the Curragh was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018 and underwent a number of surgeries and treatments.

Pat was a nine-time champion Irish flat jockey and won 12 European classics, including the Epsom Derby.

He claimed the 2016 Epsom and Irish Derbies aboard Harzand for friend and former boss Dermot Weld.

Pat was the top flat jockey in Ireland until his untimely retirement in 2018.

In 2019, he spearheaded a fundraising campaign for pancreatic cancer research to help others in his position.

The campaign raised almost €3 million and included a champions race at the Curragh featuring the likes of Ruby Walsh and AP McCoy.