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Horse racing legend Lester Piggott dies aged 86

Horse racing legend Lester Piggott has died aged 86.

The nine-time Epsom Derby winner is widely regarded as one of the greatest jockeys of all time.

Piggott, who had a history of heart problems, had been in hospital in Switzerland since last week.

Piggot’s son-in-law, Derby-winning trainer William Haggas, said on Sunday: ‘Sadly we can confirm that Lester died peacefully in Switzerland this morning.’

Piggott’s racing career lasted almost 50 years and he rode 4,493 winners, the third-highest tally in British history behind Sir Gordon Richards and Pat Eddery.

He was crowned champion jockey 11 times and won 30 English Classic overall.

Queen Elizabeth with Lester Piggot at the Epsom Derby in 2019
Queen Elizabeth II with Lester Piggott at the Epsom Derby in 2019 (AFP via Getty)

His nine victories in the Derby is a record which still stands today.

Piggott won his first Derby in 1954 on 33-1 outsider Never Say Die in 1954 and became the youngest 20th-century jockey to win the race.

File photo dated 25-10-1998 of Lester Piggott on Desert Orchid. Lester Piggott, whose Classic haul included nine Derby victories, has died at the age of 86, his son-in-law William Haggas has announced.. Issue date: Sunday May 29, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story RACING Piggott. Photo credit should read Barry Batchelor/PA Wire.
Lester Piggott in 1998 (PA)

His ninth and final Derby winner came 29 years later on Teeneso in 1983.

In 1975, Piggott was awarded an OBE but he was stripped of that honour after he received a three-year prison sentence in 1987 for income tax evasion.

Piggott served 366 days in jail and made a surprise return to the saddle in of 1990, at the age of 54.

Ten days into his comeback, Piggott won the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Royal Academy.

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