Pat Smullen 'overwhelmed' after more than 2.5m euro is raised for cancer trials

Pat Smullen has described himself as "overwhelmed" after the charity drive he spearheaded over Irish Champions Weekend raised more than €2.5 million for pancreatic cancer trials.

Charity events, including a dinner and online auction, accompanied a weekend of top-class action on the track, including the Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland, which was won in dramatic style by 20-time British champion jump jockey Sir Anthony McCoy.

Smullen said: "I never dreamed we'd reach a figure like this and it's a tribute to the kind nature of everyone in the racing and breeding industry – I'm overwhelmed!

"Sunday at the Curragh was a special day and a huge thank you to everybody who came along. I don’t think we'll see a race like that again and I owe so much to my good friends, the nine champion jockeys who came out of retirement to ride in it, as well as the race sponsors, owners and trainers who made the race possible.

"Having worked with the team in Cancer Trials Ireland, I'm excited with how they can make your donations work to give hope to those families affected by cancer. A sincere thank you to one and all."

Last month the nine-time Irish champion jockey was forced to withdraw from riding in the charity race himself after hitting a setback in his recovery from pancreatic cancer, but he was in attendance at the Curragh on Sunday.

Eibhlin Mulroe, CEO of Cancer Trials Ireland, said: "These few weeks have been so exciting and what Pat and the team have achieved is potentially game-changing.

"I want to assure everybody that we'll use your kind donations to the best of our ability and immediately put into action those two cancer trials which we hope will make a big difference to people’s lives."