Lester Keith Piggott

(b. 1935) English jockey

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(1935– )

British flat-racing jockey. He won more Classics (including a record nine Derbys) than any other jockey and his successes outside Great Britain included three Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Piggott was born into a family with two hundred years of racing history. His father was a successful jockey and trainer, his mother the daughter of a trainer. Apprenticed to his father, he rode his first winner in August 1948 at the age of twelve. In 1954 he won his first Derby on Never Say Die and in 1960 was champion jockey for the first time (he was subsequently champion jockey from 1964 to 1971 and in 1981 and 1982). For twelve years he was first jockey to Noel Murless's stable but in 1967 became freelance. By 1985 he had achieved a total of twenty-nine Classic victories. The Irish trainer Vincent O'Brien (1917–2009) provided Piggott with many winners, such as Sir Ivor, Roberto, and Nijinsky (possibly the best horse Piggott ever rode). His determination to win sometimes brought him into conflict with the stewards and the Jockey Club and he was suspended on several occasions. However, he was a superb judge of a horse's strengths and weaknesses. He announced his retirement as a jockey in 1985. In 1987 he was found guilty of a £3.25 million tax fraud and imprisoned. After his release in 1988 he worked for a time as a trainer before staging a comeback as a jockey in 1990. He finally retired in 1995.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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