Pat Smullen was honoured at the annual Cartier awards in London. The nine-time champion jockey was presented with the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award Of Merit for 2019.
Smullen is a nine-time champion jockey and Derby winner at Epsom. He was forced to abruptly retire from the saddle following a pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2018.
Since that diagnosis, the Offaly man has been a part of a huge fundraising effort for Cancer Trials Ireland. The focal part of that drive was the Pat Smullen Champions Race For Cancer Trials Ireland at the Curragh on day two of Longines Irish Champions' Weekend.
The race, won by AP McCoy, along with the other activities as part of the weekend raised more than €2.5 million overall for the Cancer Trials Ireland Charity.
“It’s a very, very special night and there’s no question humbled is the word” - @patjsmullen gives a typically class interview with @GinaBryce after receiving his @Cartier/Daily @Telegraph Award of Merit for 2019 👏 pic.twitter.com/AGoB1EsPPK
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) November 13, 2019
The Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit goes to the person or persons who, in the opinion of the special 16-strong Cartier Jury, has/have done the most for European racing and/or breeding either over their lifetime or within the past 12 months.
Smullen has had an incredible 18 months thta he said has brought him "perspective".
The Rhode native said he felt "humbled" by the occasion. The illness has allowed the Derby winner to reflect on his achievements and "rediscover his love of the horse".
Enable was the other major winner on the night. John Gosden's mare won the Cartier Horse of the Year Award for the second time.
Frankie Dettori had an incredible season winning 20 Group One races globally and horses he partnered dominated the rest of the winners' list.
Stradivarius who like Enable only tasted defeat once all year, was named Cartier Stayer of the year, for the second time.
Too Darn Hot was crowned top three-year colt. Star Catcher also trained by John Gosden was deemed the best Three-Year-Old Filly.
Godolphin were strongly represented on the winners' list too. Blue Point was named the best Sprinter after his two wins at Royal Ascot. The unbeaten Pinatubo was the top juvenile colt.