Vale jockey Peter Mertens

Former jockey turned trainer Peter Mertens has died after a long illness.

Sirmione running in the Pure Blonde - St. George Stks
Sirmione running in the Pure Blonde - St. George Stks Picture: Racing and Sports

Group 1 winning jockey Peter Mertens has died, aged 58, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. 

Mertens began riding in 1979 and had his career cut short following a serious race fall in 2013 after riding more than 2100 winner, including seven at the highest level in Victoria and South Australia. 

Teaming with Mick Price, Mertens won his first Group 1 race aboard Rustic Dream in the 1979 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield while also enjoying Group 1 success for Bart Cummings, partnering with Sirmione to win the 2007 Mackinnon Stakes and 2008 Australian Cup at Flemington

Mertens is survived by wife Gulcin and six children, including son Beau Mertens who has followed his father into the jockey ranks. 

Following his retirement from the saddle, Mertens took out a trainer's licence in 2017, saddling his last runner in 2021. 

Victorian Jockeys' Association Chief Executive Matt Hyland, who rode against Mertens during his career in the saddle, expressed the Association's sympathies to the family. 

"We are incredibly sorry to hear of Peter's passing and extend our condolences to his family - in particular his son Beau," Hyland said. 

"We are thinking of them all at this particularly sad time.  

"Peter was as gallant in fighting his illness as he was on the racecourse, and he will be sorely missed by many people in Victorian racing and beyond." 

Racing and Sports