The fundraising effort over Longines Irish Champions weekend for Cancer trials Ireland has exceeded the €2.5 million mark.
The focal point of the weekend fundraising was the Pat Smullen champions race for Cancer trials that was won in inimitable style by Sir AP McCoy on board the Sheila Lavery trained Quizical.
While the group class flat racing was exceptional over Champions Weekend it paled in comparison to the charity race in Pat Smullen's name. Familiar faces lining up one last time was a treat for race fans.
The former champion jockeys including Ruby Walsh, Joseph O'Brien and Kieren Fallon were truly engaged with racegoers on the day too, with autographs and selfies galore.
Smullen was due to ride in the race, but due to a recurrence of his illness was unable to participate. The nine-time champion jockey was there on the day, clearly in poor health from chemotherapy, adding further poignancy to the occasion.
The weekend of charity events included a charity dinner, an on-line auction in which items were donated by the racing and breeding community, specially-designed souvenir cups were on sale at both Leopardstown and the Curragh, while donations have continued to flood into cancertrials.ie, the charity’s website.
Pat Smullen said: “I never dreamed that we would reach a figure like this and it is a tribute to the kind nature of everyone in the racing and breeding industry – I am 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 ever 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.
“I also want to thank everybody in Horse Racing Ireland for their energy, ideas and encouragement throughout the campaign, the Longines Irish Champions Weekend committee, the Curragh, Leopardstown and the IHRB, the media, all the volunteers and everybody who played a role in helping us achieve our goals.
“Having worked with the team in Cancer Trials Ireland, I am 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.”
Donations are still welcome to cancertrials.ie and a small number of the limited edition reusable cups can be purchased.