Jockey dies aged 26 just six months after being diagnosed with 'aggressive' cancer

A YOUNG jockey has tragically died just six months after being diagnosed with an 'aggressive' form of cancer.

Apprentice rider Yong Chew, known as Chewy to his mates, had been battling throat cancer.

Chew, who was believed to be just 26, had his first runner in August 2019 and his first winner a year later.

In 83 career starts the rookie had five wins and 18 places – but his time in the saddle was cut short due to his illness.

A popular jockey in the New Zealand racing community, Chew had moved there from his native Malaysia to further his career.

Trainer Lance Robinson had taken Chew under his wing and said he had become 'like family'.

Robinson told "He went home two weeks ago. He spent a week in quarantine in Penang hospital and got home and spent time with his family for a week, so that was good.

"He had been battling an aggressive form of throat cancer for just six months.

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"He was determined that he was going to beat it.

"He went through chemo and all the treatments.

"He lived with us for the last six months, so we went on the ride with him. He was like family.

"We got him down here and he spent two years with is.

"He rode five winners and was a kid who was going to be all right."

With his family unable to travel to be with him, racing bosses in New Zealand raised funds to cover the cost of returning him to his loved ones for his final few days.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s South Island Riding Master David Walsh paid tribute to a 'lovely, young fella'.

He said: "He was always the first to come to apprentice school and always had a smile on his face and was super positive.

"As recently as August, and he was quite sick, he came to our apprentice awards.

"We didn’t expect him to come but he turned up and got on the stage and he showed all his heart and courage right the way through."

This is the second jockey death in a week to rock racing in the southern hemisphere.

Chris Caserta died aged 26 after being swept out to sea during a late-night swim with a friend.

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