Legendary jockey Lester Piggott has died on the age of 86, it has been confirmed. Piggott was a famous name around the globe following a profession which spanned over 50 years, and the Englishman rode an outstanding 4,493 winners – the third-highest tally of all time.
He also won the Epsom Derby a record nine times, and leaves behind a hugely impressive legacy. The tributes have already begun pouring in for Piggott, with the nice and good of the racing world paying their respects.
TV presenter Rishi Persad tweeted: “Lester Piggott. The most effective jockey and one of the crucial iconic sport stars to have ever lived. RIP.” Meanwhile former jockey Brough Scott told Racing TV: “He forged the longest shadow anyone has ever forged over racing.
“For me, he was my first and biggest hero because I used to be five when he ran his first winner. He was quite incredible, he danced to a distinct tune than any jockey before or since. You may argue about his relative merits but there hasn’t been and won’t ever be anyone like Lester Piggott.”
The Great British Racing account tweeted: “Lester Piggott, the legendary rider, has passed away on the age of 86. We send our deepest condolences to all his family and friends at this sad time.”
And the Racing Post added: “Racing has lost one in all the largest names in the game’s history following the death of Lester Piggott on the age of 86.”
Piggott, incredibly, rode his first winner on the age of just 12, and won his first Derby at 18 on Never Say Die in 1954.
Speaking about his fame in an interview with the Racing Post a number of years ago, Piggott said: “It’s very nice of individuals to ask me to present awards and things. I sign a number of autographs, shake a number of people’s hands, have a chat concerning the old days – you have got to do it, don’t you, it’s not exertions, is it?
“Once you’ve spent your whole life doing something it’s only right you have got to assist out a bit afterward, you have got to place a bit back. I feel lots of older people still remember me, I’m probably famous to them, however the younger ones wouldn’t really know who I’m. Time goes by. Quite a lot of people wouldn’t know me now.”