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Legendary jockey Lester Piggott dies aged 86

Sky News
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Legendary jockey Lester Piggott has died aged 86, his son-in-law has said.

Piggott, who won the Derby nine times, had been in hospital in Switzerland.

During a career lasting almost 50 years he rode 4,493 winners.

Lester Piggott photographed in 2019
Image:
Lester Piggott photographed in 2019

He rode his first winner, The Chase, at the age of 12 at Haydock in 1948.

His final victory was on Palacegate Jack on the same course in 1994, a few weeks before his 59th birthday. He retired in 1995.

Piggott was crowned champion jockey 11 times between 1960 and 1982 and was inducted into the British Champions Series Hall of Fame last year.

In a low point, he served 366 days of a three-year prison sentence handed down in 1987 for tax evasion and was stripped of his OBE.

Lester Piggott receiving the Ritz Club trophy from the Queen Mother in 1981
Image:
Lester Piggott receiving the Ritz Club trophy from the Queen Mother in 1981

Piggot’s son-in-law, Derby-winning trainer William Haggas, said: “Sadly we can confirm that Lester died peacefully in Switzerland this morning.

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

Born in November 1935 in Wantage, Berkshire, Piggott is regarded as one of the greatest flat racing jockeys, and the finest of his generation.

Lester Piggott, with the Queen, on her Oaks winner, Carrozza, in 1957
Image:
Lester Piggott with the Queen, on her Oaks winner, Carrozza, in 1957

Tall for a jockey at 5 feet 8 inches, he was known as “The Long Fellow” and kept himself thirty pounds (14kg) under his natural weight to remain competitive.

From a racing family, he began racing horses from his father’s stable when he was 10 and went on to become a teenage sensation.

His father, Keith, trained a Grand National winner while his grandfather, Ernest, won the famous steeplechase three times.

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