Legendary late jockey’s wife returns to racing after 16 years with daughter to ride ex-Aidan O’Brien horse


LEGENDARY late jockey Pat Smullen’s wife will return to racing after 16 years – with her daughter to ride an ex-Aidan O’Brien horse.

Frances Crowley will saddle her first runner in well over a decade at Leopardstown on Friday.

Getty – ContributorThe iconic Pat Smullen died in 2020 but his racing legacy is being carried on by surviving wife Frances and their three children[/caption]

My hero. pic.twitter.com/aUT0VPvfxb

— Hannah Smullen (@hannah_smullen) September 16, 2020

She says the entry, driven by her children, is ‘just a bit of fun’ – but that daughter Hannah is absolutely desperate to get her first winner.

Iconic rider and nine-time Irish champion Flat jockey Pat lost his life to cancer aged 43 in September 2020.

AP McCoy said the former Derby winner’s passing was ‘horrifically sad’ as racing bid a tearful farewell to a true giant of the sport.

But Pat’s love of racing has been passed on down to his children, with Hannah particularly keen to have the family name in the winner’s enclosure once more.

Frances herself made history in 2005 when becoming the first woman to win a Classic race in Ireland when Saoire won the 1000 Guineas at the Curragh.

And now she and her daughter – one of Frances and Pat’s three children – are hoping for more history at Leopardstown.

Frances bought the former O’Brien Ballydoyle inmate The Black Tiger (who is by Justify) for around £17,000 at the sales last year.

Hannah will ride the four-year-old gelding in the 1m4f Women’s Irish Network For Racing Lady Riders Handicap.

Proud mum Frances told Thoroughbred Daily News: “This is something that has been completely driven by the kids, Hannah, Paddy and Sarah.

“They wanted to do it. We’ll see how it goes, it’s just a bit of fun.

“But this is not a full-time return for me.

“The kids wanted to experience running something off the farm and Hannah really wants to try and ride a winner.

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“We bought the horse at Tattersalls last year and Aidan said he is a nice, kind horse who would be a good ride for Hannah.

“He recommended him for the job and said he had a good temperament so that’s how we ended up with him.”

All of Hannah’s five rides have come through top jumps trainer Gordon Elliott.

The Black Tiger will, like Elliott’s bumper runners Yorkshire Escape and Silver Lark, carry the family’s bright blue Brickfield Stud silks.

Frances said son Paddy will lead the horse up and added: “Hannah got a lot of experience last year.

“She is studying hard in college and just finished her exams so it’s a big ask for her to go and ride straight away but we’ve nobody to answer to only ourselves.

“She’ll definitely need the run and so will the horse. She’d just love to ride a winner.”


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