• Thu. Jul 7th, 2022

Lester Piggott, legendary British jockey, dies aged 86 in Switzerland hospital

Byaayme

May 30, 2022

Former champion British jockey Lester Piggott, who won the Epsom Derby nine times and was widely considered one of the greatest riders of all time, has died at the age of 86.

His family announced his death on Sunday after Piggott was admitted into hospital in Switzerland last week.

His death was confirmed by horseracing trainer William Haggas, who is married to Piggott’s daughter Maureen.

“Sadly, we can confirm that Lester died peacefully in Switzerland this morning,” William Haggas told UK media.

“I really don’t wish to add much more than that at this stage, although Maureen will be making a statement later.”

The cause of death was not revealed.

Piggott began racing horses aged 10 and went on to accumulate more than 4,000 victories in a storied career during which he was crowned British champion jockey a remarkable 11 times.

He rode his first winner at the age of just 12.

He rode 30 winners in the five British Classics of flat-racing — the Derby nine times, the 2,000 Guineas five times, the 1,000 Guineas twice, the Oaks six times and the St Leger eight times.

One of his most famous horses was Nijinsky, which won the Derby, the 2,000 Guineas and St. Leger.

He was awarded an OBE in 1975 but was later stripped of the honour after being convicted of tax fraud in 1987 and sentenced to three years in jail.

Frankie Dettori, one of the most accomplished current jockeys, described Piggott as a “legend”.

“We always tried to aspire to be like him and none of us can do it,” Dettori said.

“I am not old enough to remember him riding when he was in his peak but — I’m talking as a professional jockey — we all grew up wanting to be like him.”

Piggott, who rode his last professional race at the age of 59, is said to have been the Queen’s all-time favourite jockey.

His last UK victory was in the November Handicap in 1994, but he won the Black Opal Stakes on Zadok in Canberra in March 1995 during a series of rides overseas to end his career.

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