Lester Piggott admitted to hospital, but is ‘bright and doing well’

  • Racing legend Lester Piggott has been admitted to hospital and is undergoing routine tests, but according to his daughter Maureen Haggas, he is “bright and doing well”.

    The 83-year-old former top jockey, regarded as one of the greatest Flat riders of all time, was taken to a hospital in London last weekend. He has suffered from heart problems in the past and doctors have been monitoring him closely.

    “My father is doing well,” Maureen — wife of Flat trainer William Haggas — told Horse & Hound. “At the moment, he is in hospital having tests done. However, he is bright and playing backgammon at present.”

    Lester was triumphant in nine Derbys at Epsom and won close to 5,300 races across the globe during his illustrious riding career.

    In 1970, Lester partnered Nijinsky to win the Triple Crown, having been victorious in the 2,000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger all in the same year.

    Lester enjoyed a flourishing association with the great Irish racehorse trainer Vincent O’Brien. The trainer-jockey duo teamed up successfully to win the 2,000 Guineas and Derby in 1968 with Sir Ivor and the 1977 Derby with The Minstrel. The pair also took the honours in the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1977 and 1978 with Alleged, among other great victories.

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    Aged 54, Lester made one of the most brilliant comebacks in sport when winning the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Mile in America aboard Royal Academy — a fortnight after he had made an astonishing return to riding on Britain soil, after getting on the wrong side of the law for tax fraud.

    At 5ft8in, Lester was famously tall for a Flat jockey and was nicknamed the “Long Fellow”. Despite this, he managed to ride at around eight stone throughout his career.

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