English jockey great Lester Piggott dies at 86

Sports

LONDON — Lester Piggott, a jockey who won the English Derby nine times in his haul of victories in horse racing’s top events, has died. He was 86.

Piggott’s death was confirmed to Britain’s PA news agency on Sunday 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,” Haggas said.

Piggott will be remembered for being one of the greatest jockeys of all time. He was champion jockey in England 11 times and rode his first winner at the age of 12 and his last a few weeks short of his 59th birthday.

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 the St. Leger.

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.”

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