Lester Piggott is regarded as one of the greatest jockeys of all time, and for good reason. Over the course of his career, Piggott amassed an astonishing 4,493 wins, making him one of the most successful jockeys in the history of horse racing. His incredible skill and success on the track earned him numerous accolades and awards, and cemented his place in the pantheon of racing legends.
Lester Piggott’s career is full of notable victories, and he won many prestigious races throughout his long and illustrious career. Some of his biggest wins include:
- The Epsom Derby – Piggott won this iconic race a record-breaking nine times, riding some of the greatest horses in history, including Nijinsky (1970), Sir Ivor (1968), and Roberto (1972).
- The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – Piggott won this prestigious race four times, riding horses like Alleged (1977, 1978), and Empery (1976).
- The 2,000 Guineas – Piggott won this race eight times, including victories on board Nijinsky (1970), Apalachee (1974), and Shadeed (1985).
- The St. Leger – Piggott won this classic race eight times, riding horses like Boucher (1965), Ribocco (1967), and Commanche Run (1984).
- The 1,000 Guineas – Piggott won this race six times, including wins on Mysterious (1973), Quick As Lightning (1977), and Fairy Footsteps (1981).
- The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes – Piggott won this race five times, riding horses like Dahlia (1974, 1975), Teenoso (1984), and The Minstrel (1977).
- The Melbourne Cup – Piggott won this iconic Australian race once, riding the horse Gurner’s Lane to victory in 1982.
Piggott was born on November 5, 1935, in Wantage, Oxfordshire, England. His father, Keith Piggott, was a successful jockey who had won the Epsom Derby twice in his career. Lester grew up in a family of jockeys and began riding horses at an early age. He quickly demonstrated a natural talent for riding and won his first race at the age of 12.
By the time he was 16, Piggott had turned professional and began riding for various trainers. He quickly established himself as a formidable jockey, earning his first Champion Jockey title in 1960. He went on to win the title a further 10 times, becoming one of the most successful jockeys in British history.
Piggott’s rise to fame was due in large part to his incredible skill in the saddle. He was known for his unorthodox riding style, which involved sitting motionless in the saddle and waiting until the last possible moment to ask his horse for an effort. This style was highly effective, allowing him to conserve his horse’s energy until the crucial moment and then unleash a powerful burst of speed.
Piggott was also known for his ability to get the best out of any horse, no matter how difficult or uncooperative it might be. He was a master at reading horses and understanding their strengths and weaknesses, which allowed him to tailor his riding style to suit each individual horse.
Throughout his career, Piggott rode some of the greatest horses in the history of the sport. He won the Derby a record-breaking nine times, riding horses like Nijinsky, Sir Ivor, and Roberto to victory. He also won the 2,000 Guineas eight times, the 1,000 Guineas six times, and the St. Leger eight times. He won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe four times and the Melbourne Cup once.
One of Piggott’s most famous victories came in the 1973 Derby, where he rode the unbeaten colt, Nijinsky, to victory. Nijinsky was a heavy favorite going into the race, but Piggott’s masterful ride ensured that he crossed the finish line first. The victory was particularly sweet for Piggott, who had missed the previous year’s Derby due to a suspension.
Piggott’s success on the track was not without controversy, however. In 1987, he was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to three years in prison. The conviction shocked the racing world, and many fans were disappointed by Piggott’s fall from grace.
Despite the controversy, Piggott remained a beloved figure in the world of horse racing. He continued to ride after his release from prison, but his best days were behind him. He retired from racing in 1985 but made a comeback in 1990. He continued to ride until his final retirement in 1995.
Piggott’s legacy in the sport is unparalleled. He was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1975 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1995. He is remembered not only for his incredible achievements on the track but also for his dedication an sportsmanship. Piggott was known for his professionalism and his willingness to help younger jockeys, and he was widely respected by his peers.
In addition to his success as a jockey, Piggott also had a successful career as a trainer. He trained his first winner in 1991 and went on to train more than 200 winners over the course of his career.
Piggott’s influence on the sport of horse racing cannot be overstated. He inspired a generation of jockeys with his skill and determination, and his legacy lives on in the countless young riders who strive to emulate his success.
In conclusion, Lester Piggott is one of the most successful and influential jockeys in the history of horse racing. His incredible skill and dedication to the sport earned him numerous accolades and awards, and his legacy continues to inspire young riders to this day. Despite his fall from grace in the late 1980s, Piggott remains a beloved figure in the world of horse racing, and his name will always be synonymous with greatness.