Racing world in mourning after death of legendary Lester Piggott

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Lester Piggott, pictured here with Queen Elizabeth II.
Legendary jockey Lester Piggott has died at age 86. Image: Getty

The horse racing world is mourning the tragic death of legendary jockey Lester Piggott at age 86.

Piggott was admitted to hospital in Switzerland last weekend.

"Sadly we can confirm that Lester died peacefully in Switzerland this morning," son-in-law Williams Haggas told the PA News agency.

"I really don’t wish to add much more than that at this stage, although Maureen (Piggott's daughter) will be making a statement later."

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Unquestionably one of the greatest riders of all time, Piggott won nine English Derbies and was crowned champion jockey 11 times in the UK.

One of Queen Elizabeth II's favourite jockeys, Piggott rode his first winner (The Chase) at Haydock in 1948 when just 12 years of age.

His last win came with Palacegate Jack at the same Merseyside track in 1994, a few weeks short of his 59th birthday.

He retired for the final time in 1995.

Piggott first won the Derby in 1954 aboard Never Say Die. Eight more wins followed - including Nijinsky in 1970 - with his last Epsom hero being Teenoso in 1983.

Also successful in the 2000 Guineas, Nijinsky and Piggott went on to land the Triple Crown with his triumph in the St Leger.

A brief training career included saddling Cutting Blade to win the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in 1986.

Piggott rode a record 116 winners at Royal Ascot, with 11 of those coming in the Gold Cup.

Statues of Piggott adorn nine racecourses in England and only a week ago one was unveiled at Ireland's premier racetrack The Curragh.

Queen Elizabeth II, pictured here unveiling a statue of Lester Piggott during Derby Day in 2019.
Queen Elizabeth II unveils a statue of Lester Piggott during Derby Day in 2019. (Photo by Simon Cooper/PA Images via Getty Images)

Horse racing world mourns death of Lester Piggott

Willie Carson and modern-day racing great Frankie Dettori have led the tributes to Piggott.

Five-times champion Carson said he felt like a part of him had died with the most iconic racing figure of the 20th century.

"I feel as though I have lost part of my life in way, as Lester has been part of my life ever since I came into racing," said an emotional Carson.

"I came to his in-laws as an apprentice and he was part of my life right from the word go, until the end. He was an iconic figure in the horse racing world. He is a legend.

Lester Piggott, pictured here at Newmarket Racecourse in 2019.
Lester Piggott at Newmarket Racecourse in 2019. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

"We had the luck of some ding-dongs on the track and he was a person who made us all better - because we had to be better to beat him.

"We had to up our game to compete with him, because he was so magical on top of a horse."

Dettori had a close relationship with Piggott through the pair's association with the late bookmaker turned gambler and charity fund raiser Barney Curley.

"It is a shock when you hear news like that. He has been part of our lives forever really," Dettori said.

"Lester was a hero of mine and a good friend. The impact he has made in racing, on all of us, is second to none.

"I will always try to remember him for the good things and I offer my sincere condolences to his family and his many friends."

Tributes have also been pouring in on social media.

with agencies

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