Remembering Lester Piggott

Remembering Lester Piggott

I just come across the report “Lester Piggott: Record-breaking jockey dies aged 86”.

The report begins: “Legendary jockey Lester Piggott, who won the Derby a record nine times, has died aged 86. The Englishman won 30 British Classic races in a career which yielded 4,493 winners. He also had 116 Royal Ascot victories and was named champion jockey 11 times between 1960 and 1982. “Sadly we can confirm that Lester died peacefully in Switzerland this morning,” said his son-in-law and Derby-winning trainer William Haggas. Piggott was admitted to hospital in Switzerland, where he lived, last week. His first winner came aged 12 at Haydock in 1948, and his last at the same track in 1994. He retired for a final time in 1995. Piggott, who was partially deaf, won the Derby at Epsom for the first time in 1954 aboard Never Say Die. His ninth win came on Teenoso in 1983. He was jailed for three years in 1987 after being found guilty of tax fraud of more than £3m. With time off for good behaviour, he served a year and a day in prison. Nicknamed the Long Fellow, he was tall for a Flat jockey at nearly 5ft 8in and weighed as little as 8st 5lb”.

I should imagine, most people reading my blog are not interested in horse racing and many would not even have heard of Lester Piggott. As for me, while horse racing was never a sport I was much interested in, mainly because of its links to gambling, I recognise it is a sport and one that required those very qualities needed to succeed in whatever sport one might successfully participate in. Going back to when I was a boy, I heard Lester Piggott’s name frequently mentioned in the context he was a quintessential winner. As for the report, Lester Piggott is a legend and, like many, he would be the first jockey I am able name. I can name legends who stand out from many different sports: Pele – football, Bradman – cricket; Palmer – golf etc. and Piggott would rate right at the top of his sport and stand alongside these other greats as a master of his craft. I am saddened to learn the news of the death of one who truly graced his sport and was admired by many who felt similarly, even though from this report, we can see he was no saint. His contribution was massive and he will be missed by many, including me.  

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