Lester Piggott

Dettori Riding High on the Long Goodbye

Frankie Dettori's retirement this winter has acquired a caveat: 'in theory.' So, in theory, the most famous jockey since Lester Piggott will ride in his last English Classic, the St Leger, at Doncaster this weekend. More garlands, perhaps more tears shed. But Dettori's valedictory lap of world racing at 52-years-old is becoming a little complicated. With every big prize won, and each sparkling performance in the saddle, the fait accompli of his departure feels less secure.  To us, the grateful audience, the response to Dettori's radiant affirmation of his talent...

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Epsom Names Race in Memory of Lester Piggott

Epsom Downs Racecourse has announced the introduction of the Lester Piggott Handicap S. on Derby Day, to be run in memory of the legendary jockey who died a year ago at the age of 86. Frankie Dettori will lay a wreath at Piggott's commemorative statue on Saturday. "It is an honour to be asked to lay a wreath at Lester's statue on Derby Day," Dettori said. "He was a hero of mine who then became a good friend and it's impossible to measure the impact he had on me, both as...

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Coolmore's John Magnier The 2022 Recipient Of The Sir Peter O'Sullevan Award

Coolmore's John Magnier was the recipient of the 2022 Peter O'Sullevan Award and was celebrated at the 25th edition of the Peter O'Sullevan Annual Award Lunch in London on Thursday. The 74-year-old received his award from JP McManus at Coolmore, as he was not present at the lunch. "I don't deserve it, but I'm happy to get it," Magnier told ITV Racing anchor Ed Chamberlin in an interview, which was played during the ceremony. "I'm blown away by it, really." Magnier spoke in favour of racing's various factions coming together...

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A Long Fellow, and the Longest Reign

The bit that most concerns us, naturally, is that the race is not to the swift-albeit ours is a business that will also disclose, fairly reliably, that nor is the battle to the strong; bread to the wise; riches to men of understanding; or favor to those of skill. "Time and chance happen to them all."

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This Side Up: A Long Fellow, And The Longest Reign

The bit that most concerns us, naturally, is that the race is not to the swift--albeit ours is a business that will also disclose, fairly reliably, that nor is the battle to the strong; bread to the wise; riches to men of understanding; or favor to those of skill. "Time and chance happen to them all." So, yes, we all know that before anything else we require a little luck. But the whole point of Epsom, as the definitive measure of the Thoroughbred, is that while your horse must certainly...

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'I am Delighted That he has a Top Miler in Baaeed – I had Been Waiting for That'

Kick-starting a new weekly Q&A series in TDN Europe, former champion trainer John Oxx, whose spellbinding career will forever be remembered through his masterful handling of Sea The Stars (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}), Sinndar (Ire) (Grand Lodge) and Ridgewood Pearl (GB) (Indian Ridge {Ire}), sat down with Brian Sheerin to talk all things racing and breeding. The dual Derby-winning trainer speaks about Epsom, how delighted he is that Sea The Stars has a top-notch miler in Baaeed and his life in retirement.   Brian Sheerin: There are few weeks in...

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Remembering Lester: A Personal Recollection by John Hammond

It was Wednesday morning, 5 December 1990. The phone rang. 'You running anything at the weekend?'. Inwardly I groaned, I knew what was coming. I was running a handicapper slightly past his best in the 2,100m handicap at Saint-Cloud on the Saturday.  An older horse with his issues, not a comfortable ride, Lester had ridden him 11 days earlier when he was a well beaten third. 'Ok, I'll come and ride him'. And so, to my embarrassment, he flew over at his own expense for one, dodgy ride. It was...

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Seven Days: Half-Mast

The flag at Somerville Lodge in Newmarket is at half-mast. For the inhabitants of that famous stable it is of course a deeply personal gesture as Maureen Haggas and her family mourn the death of her father Lester Piggott. Over the decades they will have become accustomed to the fact that the head of their family was also a racing icon--a man not just whose name is the first jockey a random member of the public can call to mind, but for many longstanding fans of racing the man who...

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Steve Cauthen: 'I Was Always in Awe of Lester's Talent'

Steve Cauthen, the American jockey who enjoyed huge success when riding in the UK-including Derby victories aboard Slip Anchor and Reference Point--remembered the greatest of them all, Lester Piggott, who died on Sunday, aged 86.  Recalling what started out as a frosty relationship between the pair, Cauthen, who will form part of ITV Racing's presentation team at this year's Derby meeting, paid a glowing tribute to his great friend and rival.  Cauthen said, "As time went on, obviously we became competitors, as I started to get chances on better horses...

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Lester Piggott: Born To Ride

There's plenty going on in the world at present, including in Great Britain with the daily-changing tragi-comic farce which masquerades as domestic politics.  We're definitely not in the 'silly season' in which news editors have to look far and wide, including to the back pages, to find the front-page leads.  Within the sports' pages racing no longer holds its prime position of yesteryear, and when the Cazoo Derby is run at Epsom this Saturday, it will have to fight for its few column inches in the national press. Under the...

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The Week in Review: The Met Mile Belongs on Memorial Day

A New York racing tradition began in 1971, the first time that Memorial Day was officially celebrated each year on the last Monday in May. A crowd of 61,147 showed up that Monday at Belmont Park to watch Tunex win the $121,600 Metropolitan Mile for trainer Allen Jerkens and owner Hobeau Farm. For the next 42 years, New York racing fans circled Memorial Day on their calendars, knowing that it would be one of the biggest days of the year, thanks to the GI Metropolitan H. In 1976 and 1977,...

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Letter to the Editor: Reminiscing about Lester Piggott

Think of Robin Hood, or the Scarlet Pimpernel. Or even Jesse James. There was a little bit of the Great Outlaw in Lester Piggott: enigmatic, often in trouble, and adored by the people in the street. Lester defied the rules of charisma: very soft voice, never very friendly, always composed, always keeping to himself in public. Ah, but that face, "like a well-kept grave," as somebody said. The intensity of his facial expression was Mount Rushmore-ready--a la Clint Eastwood. When he returned to riding in 1990 (post High Point) and...

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