Derby-winning jockey Pat Smullen has announced his retirement after completing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Smullen, 42 later this month, was Irish champion jockey nine times and won the Derby at Epsom in 2016 on Harzand, trained by Dermot Weld.

He also won the Irish Derby with Grey Swallow in 2004 and Harzand in 2016.

"I'd hoped to resume my career but I've taken the decision to retire on medical advice," he told the Racing Post.

"My treatment has been completed and I will be having regular check-ups to keep on top of the situation as there is always the chance the cancer could return.

"My decision is a sad one, but it is the right thing to do and it's a case of putting my body, my health and my family first."

Smullen's stoic attitude towards cancer has been widely praised within racing, where he was renowned for his reliability in the saddle.

He had a round of chemotherapy before undergoing surgery to remove his tumour in October.

He had to have more surgery after physical complications arose and remained in hospital for a prolonged period, before returning home in time for Christmas.

During his career, he also won the Irish 1,000 Guineas twice (Nightime and Bethrah), the Irish Oaks aboard Covert Love and the Irish St Leger four years running on Vinnie Roe.

As well as Harzand's Epsom triumph, his major wins for Weld in Britain included the 2,000 Guineas on Refuse To Bend, the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot with Rite Of Passage, and the Champion Stakes on Fascinating Rock.

 

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

As well as being highly respected for his skills in the saddle, Pat Smullen has been one of racing's most popular figures, on both sides of the Irish Sea.

His efforts to overcome cancer have been hailed as inspirational, and hopes were very high he'd be able to make a comeback, but now we know that's not to be.

Smullen and Weld have been as potent a trainer/jockey combo as there's been in recent years, winning a string of major prizes; particularly memorable was Harzand at Epsom, not least because the colt was subject to a fitness scare on the day.

 

 

 

 

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