Great English jockey Lester Piggott dies aged 86

LONDON — Lester Piggott, a jockey who won the English Derby nine times during his winning streak in horse racing’s top events, has died. He was 86 years old.

Piggott’s death was confirmed to Britain’s PA news agency on Sunday by horse racing trainer William Haggas, who is married to Piggott’s daughter Maureen.

“Sadly, we can confirm that Lester passed away peacefully in Switzerland this morning,” Haggas said.

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

He rode 30 winners in all five British flat racing classics – 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, who won the Derby, the 2,000 Guineas and the Saint-Léger.

Frankie Dettori, one of today’s most accomplished jockeys, described Piggott as a “legend”.

“We always tried to aspire to be like him and none of us can do that,” Dettori said. “I’m not old enough to remember him riding when he was in his prime but, I speak as a professional jockey, we all grew up wanting to be like him.”