Pat Smullen has given an upbeat update on his health ahead of the charity race for Cancer Trials at the Curragh this afternoon.
Nine former champions jockeys have come out of retirement to ride in the Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials at the fabled Kildare venue.
AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh, Charlie Swan, Johnny Murtagh, Richard Hughes, Paul Carberry, Joseph O'Brien, Kieren Fallon and Ted Durcan are all making a return to the saddle
Smullen, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer eighteen months ago, had been due to ride in the race but was forced to withdraw last month on medical advice after a setback in his health.
"You have to face it, what else do you do? Lay down and give up?"— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) September 15, 2019
Pat Smullen gives a positive update on a momentous day for him and other legendary jockeys that will raise a huge amount for charity. pic.twitter.com/B3irBtFUZg
The nine-time Champion jockey is undergoing chemotherapy again but he's at the Curragh this afternoon and is remaining upbeat and positive about his progress.
"We thought we were getting there and were on the right side of it.
"But unfortunately, maybe a month ago, we got a bit of a setback and we're undergoing chemotherapy again. But sure, life's full of setbacks, isn't it? And we just have to deal with it.
"And thankfully, we're getting on with it and working our way through it and thankfully, things seem to be going the right way again."
Smullen admitted his disappointment about not being able to ride in the race but paid tribute to the legendary jockeys who had come out of retirement to raise money.
"It's not about me. It's about raising awareness of pancreatic cancer and vital funds for research and the trials that are needed.
"It was really all about that. But selfishly, I wanted to run here because I wanted to ride at this new venue one last time. I was excited about getting prepared for that and it was going well.
"If there's one disappointment, it's that I'm not riding in the race but it's just unbelievable that the boys, the nine lads came out of retirement.
"Some needed more convincing than others, but they all rallied around and realised what a very important cause that this is and they're going to create a great day."
In the race itself, Tony McCoy-ridden Quizzical landed a gamble for an emotional Sheila Lavery.
The Ruby Walsh-ridden Aussie Valentine battled on bravely to chase home the winner in second, while Red Striker and John Murtagh filled the placings in a race few who watched it will forget in a hurry.
Asked whether she gave McCoy instructions beforehand about the well-backed favourite, Lavery laughed and said: "No!"
Speaking after the race, Ruby Walsh said: "My horse ran a blinder. AP was always going better. Johnny went way too soon and otherwise I'd have been third!"
Dessie Scahill, the legendary former commentator, called the race at the Curragh.