The late Pat Smullen with Tony McCoy (Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie)
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Legendary jumps rider AP McCoy has paid tribute to Pat Smullen following the Offaly jockey's heartbreaking death.
McCoy served his apprenticeship around the same time as Smullen and they have been friends for many years.
Speaking to Sky Sports Racing, McCoy said: "He was a wonderful man. It's very hard, it's very hard on the family. It's just a tragic time, it's heartbreaking.
"We served our apprenticeships around a similar time. His was a lot more successful than mine was, so I'd known him a long time.
"Paying a compliment to him as a rider, he took over from as good a rider as I have ever seen in Mick Kinane (at Dermot Weld's) and you wouldn't have known. That is how good Pat Smullen was. You can try to think about races he maybe should have won – there aren't any.
Racing world in mourning following death of nine-time champion jockey Pat Smullen aged 43
Ruby Walsh pays emotional tribute to his friend Pat Smullen after his death aged 43
"I spent a long time crying last night. It's just horrifically sad. "
He added: "There's certain things, you look at pictures. I looked at a picture this morning of us at a lunch in Leopardstown in February just over two years ago and it wasn't long after that he was diagnosed. It's just very hard to talk about it."