Original Source: www.skysports.com
Natasha Eddery has spoken emotionally of her father Pat’s battle with alcoholism following his death at the age of 63.
The 11-times champion jockey died in the early hours of Tuesday morning, nearly 12 years after his retirement from the saddle.
Natasha, one of Eddery’s three children along with Nichola and Harry, spoke proudly of his achievements while also revealing her pain at not seeing him in person for five years after a previous stint in rehab failed to help him beat his addiction.
She said: “Filled with grief this morning that my dad is no longer here. It’s been five years since I last saw him, which was an extremely hard decision I undertook. We stayed in touch and spoke on the phone, I never missed a birthday, Christmas or Father’s Day and not a day went by when I didn’t think about him.
“The last time I saw him face to face was when I brought him home from rehab and he drank straight away. I turned to him and said ‘dad if you choose to drink over health and family, I can’t be part of that life for you’. Sadly his addiction was too strong and he couldn’t overcome it.
“My sister and his close friends, including Derrick Smith and John Magnier, did all we could to help him battle his illness, but we lost in the end.
“It has been so sad to witness his decline, and my sister, brother and I knew that we would lose him to his demon drink. But that said, I loved him so much and I had probably the best childhood anyone could ask for.
“I was so proud and still am so proud to be his daughter, he was an amazing jockey, father and husband, but in the end he was taken over by a terrible disease. I don’t think of that man, the alcoholic, he wasn’t my dad. My dad was kind, sweet, emotional and, while he never said much, I know he loved us all very much.”
Eddery enjoyed a superb career which spanned the best part of 40 years and included 14 British Classic victories and four successes in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.
He partnered such equine luminaries as Dancing Brave, Pebbles and Zafonic and was also involved in the memorable finish to the 1975 King George at Ascot when his mount Grundy got the better of Bustino in an epic battle voted ‘race of the century’.
Eddery took out a training licence following his retirement and enjoyed further Group One success when Hearts Of Fire won the 2009 Gran Criterium in Italy.
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