I didn’t know Pat, I wish I did! I have followed his career for a fair while since doing this full time & he was a genius in the saddle, pure & simple.
He knew when to push his mount & when enough was enough….
It must have been some craic back in the early days coming up through the ranks in that Irish weighing room, with Mick Kinane, Kieren Fallon, Johnny Murtagh et all… They had some battles and then some but all on the track.
Nobody has a bad word to say about Pat, it’s quite the opposite. A gentleman, who was always accepting of his stature in racing & a man, who gave his all on the gallops, on the track & with fans….
A year ago, Pat had attended Irish Champions Weekend & the annual Charity race was in his honour, having been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer & all the legends turned out…. McCoy, Walsh, Fallon, Swann, Murtagh & Joseph O’Brien was amongst them & boy what a day, yes AP McCoy won the race but the event raised millions for research for the disease….
Pat faced his diagnosis head on, without fear or Candra, he was a fighter. As I said I didn’t know Pat. I have spoken to Kevin O’Ryan & his voice changed, like he was smiling when I interviewed him by phone & Pat cropped up in the conversation & it was the same, when recently I spoke with Fran Berry, who I know was close to Pat & his family, having started around the same time, I half joked to Fran to let Pat know that it was a good experience & maybe he should come & do an Interview, little did I know!
I don’t mind telling you had I had a tear in my eye last night, It was sad news and not the news we all had hoped for. I will remember Pat, crossing the line at Epsom in 2016 with Harzand winning the Derby, especially after what had occurred on the journey over, it was nothing short of phenomenal & richly deserved…. And to win the Irish Derby, with Harzand in the same year, is stuff of dreams….. This was Pat at his best…. Some say his finest moment.
He was a 9 time Irish Champion Jockey & won over 1,800 races in Ireland including the Irish Derby & Irish 1,000 Guineas twice & 4 Irish St Legers!
Other winners included The 2008 Breeders Cup Marathon, 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, Champion Stakes, Ascot Gold Cup… Add to that the Prix de l’Abbaye, Prix de l’Opera & Prix Royal-Oak…
A loyal man, who was stable jockey to Dermot Weld for 20 years & they shared the highs & the lows… The dream team, who took on the O’Brien’s and gave them a hell of a run for their money!
A family man, who leaves behind a wife & 3 children, he leaves a big hole!
A few of us used to bet on Dundalk on a Friday night, trying to get some extra cash for the weekend, it was usually the same question, which horse? In the end we all followed whatever Pat was riding & he would usually come up with goods, so he ended up with the nickname ‘Cash Machine’ from us…
We all loved Pat… God Speed Pat, thanks for the Memories & rest easy….
Our thoughts are with Pat’s Family, his friends & everyone who knew him…