Following the death of nine-time champion jockey Pat Smullen on Tuesday, former weighing room colleague Andrew McNamara remembered a rider who was obsessive and professional in the saddle, but warm and generous with his time out of it.

Mixed cards, where National Hunt and Flat riders get to mingle and share the camaraderie of the weighing room, are almost unique to Irish racing, with France the only other major jurisdiction that regularly mixes the two codes. 

McNamara may have been a jump jockey and Smullen a pilot on the Flat, but their paths crossed regularly at racecourses across the country every season, while both men also shared an involvement with the Irish Injured Jockeys charity.

Retired from the saddle, McNamara now juggles his role as a trainer with broadcasting duties for RTÉ Racing. He cited Smullen's professionalism as his greatest attribute during an illustrious career that saw the Offaly man garner 25 Group One wins across the globe.

We hear a lot about the impact of the big-race jockey, and while he was surely that, Smullen's relentless drive meant that he could be depended upon to do justice to a lowly handicapper at Dundalk, just as much as he would a Group One horse at Royal Ascot. 

If he'd been a footballer rather than a jockey, you know Smullen certainly could have done it on a rainy night in Stoke. 

"It was his professionalism," McNamara said of the quality that shone the most from Smullen in the saddle. 

"He quite obviously had the natural talent to go with it, and the skill and the judgement, but I think he very much took nothing for granted and worked extremely hard throughout his career.

"Ruby Walsh spoke about how the two of them would analyse everything and because of that each of them in their own sphere ended up probably the best tactical riders in the country. 

"You always felt with Pat that he took each race very seriously and would take nothing for granted.

"For all the big-winners he'd ridden, in a small race, at a small track, you'd see the disappointment in him when he felt that maybe he could have done a bit better in a race.

"He paid attention to everything he did before and afterwards. He was a complete professional.

"What was exceptional about him was the mundane – how he was so consistent no matter where it was."

To be an elite sportsman requires a degree of selfishness and caring for others can often prove mutually exclusive, but that wasn't the case with the Classic-winning jockey. 

Smullen has been celebrated for the starring role he played in raising €2.6m for Cancer Trials Ireland. But long before his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer, the disease that would claim his life at the age of 43, he was dedicating his time to the wellbeing of his peers.

"I worked on the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund with him," McNamara explained.

"Pat was a founding member. He put a huge amount of work into that. 

"A lot of credit is given to him for the charity work he did for Cancer Trials Ireland since he became ill, but he's been at that a long time before he ever got ill.

"His charity work isn't a new revelation. It was always something he put a lot of effort into."

A racetrack anecdote goes some way to summing up the type of man Irish racing will miss. 

"His main attribute, and the thing that stands out to me, is that he always had time for everybody, no matter who they were," McNamara added.

"I remember seeing him at Tipperary, coming out of the parade ring, and very much in his own world, disappointed with whatever had gone on in the race before and he had a dour, dejected look on his face. 

"This kid came up to him and asked him for an autograph. He snapped out of his own world and made time for that kid. That was symbolic of who he was as a person. He always made time for everybody else, no matter what was going on with himself."

Our 'new normal' may compel the number of mourners at Smullen's funeral to be abnormally low, but McNamara insists that the racing community will find a way to remember one one of its brightest lights. 

"This would have been an absolutely enormous funeral, which would have given people an outlet for their grief," he said 

"But racing will get together, be it virtually or otherwise, to mark the moment."