Legendary jockey Lester Piggott, who won the Derby nine times, has died aged 86.
The Englishman won 30 British Classic races in a career that saw 4,493 winners.
He also had 116 Royal Ascot wins and was named champion jockey 11 times between 1960 and 1982.
“Unfortunately, we can confirm that Lester passed away peacefully in Switzerland this morning,” said his son-in-law and Derby-winning coach William Haggas.
Piggott was hospitalized last week in Switzerland where he lived.
His first winner came at the age of 12 at Haydock in 1948, and his last at the same track in 1994. He retired for the last 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 over Teenoso in 1983.
He was sentenced to three years in prison in 1987 after being found guilty of tax fraud in excess of £3 million. With time off for good behavior, he spent a year and a day in prison.
Nicknamed the Long Fellow, he was tall for a Flat jockey at almost 5ft 8in and weighed just 8st 5lb.
Piggott’s other Derby winners included Crepello, Sir Ivor and The Minstrel. He also rode Nijinsky, the last horse to win the British Triple Crown – the 2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger – in 1970.
Just 12 days after retiring for the second time in 1990, a 54-year-old Piggott led the Royal Academy to victory in one of the world’s richest races, the $1m Breeders’ Cup Mile.
A ‘hero’ and ‘legend’ – Dettori and Carson pay tribute
Three-time champion Frankie Dettori paid tribute to his “hero” and said the news came as “a shock.”
“He’s really been a part of our lives forever,” Dettori said.
“Lester was a hero of mine and a good friend. The impact he has made in racing, on all of us, is unparalleled.
“I will always try to remember him for good things and extend my sincere condolences to his family and his many friends.
“He was a legend. We’ve always tried to be like him and none of us can do that. He will never be forgotten.”
Four-time Derby winner Willie Carson, who dominated racing with Piggott in the 1970s and 1980s, said: “Lester has been a part of my life since I got into racing. He was an iconic figure in the horse racing world. legend.
“He was someone who made us all better – because we had to be better to beat him. We had to do our very best to compete with him because he was so magical atop a horse.”
Carson said Piggott “never seemed to be under any pressure,” adding that he was hopeful Piggott would be soon enough to leave the hospital.
“That made things worse — I was drafting a letter in my head for a card to say ‘welcome home’ for when he got out,” Carson said.
“It’s so sad. A part of my life is gone.”
|2,000 guinea: 5||oak: 8|
|1,000 guinea: 2||St Leger: 8|
|The derbies: 9||Total: 30|