|When racing sticks together, you can achieve something. The fundraising campaign for Filip Minarik after his serious crash was a good example of this. But also in Ireland, a charity initiative is currently causing a sensation, the "Coast To Curragh" cycle tour, which is currently taking place for the second time.
"We Are The Champions" was the fitting soundtrack as the peloton arrived at Curragh beach almost nine hours after the start. At Irish Racing headquarters, Frances Crowley, wife of the event`s initiator, Pat Smullen, AP McCoy, Kevin Manning and Barry Geraghty held the rope for the riders.
The 350 cyclists who took part were all champions and remembered Smullen, a man of such lasting memory. He passed away far too soon from cancer. There were seven races on the programme, but the day was about more than racing at the Curragh, with more than 170 people attending the charity dinner and auction in aid of Cancer Trials Ireland.
Crowley gave a powerful speech about her husband Pat and the importance of the charity which organiser Gavin Lynch, who also lost his mother Olive to pancreatic cancer, found hard to follow. He said, "Then it was my turn but I just couldn`t speak. I got very emotional, it just means the world to me."
When it comes to summing up the legacy Smullen left behind and the significance of that day, Tony McCoy can be trusted to sum it up, "We all know what a brilliant jockey he was, but he was also a great human being. He was a bit like all of us, a bit grumpy, he had his moments, but he was just a fantastic human being," he said.
"Look at everything he did and the legacy he left behind. Not just in racing, but in life. The efforts he made to raise awareness for Cancer Trials Ireland. The day I won his charity race here was probably one of the most emotional days I`ve ever had in racing. It`s going to be hard to top."
More than €26,000 had already been raised for charity before the race began and the charity auction at the Oaks Restaurant raised a further €66,000. The signed and framed Honeysuckle dresses were the biggest share at €16,000, while Smullen`s 2019 Champion`s Race memorabilia and a round of golf at The K Club with McCoy and Ruby Walsh were also auctioned.
The Racecourse Spy