Lester Piggott

Lester Piggott  Born in Wantage, Berkshire on November 5, 1935, Lester Piggott was the greatest Flat jockey of his era and was held in awe by many of his horse racing contemporaries. He rode his first winner in Britain, The Chase, at Haydock in August, 1948, and his last, Palacegate Jack, at the same Merseyside track in October, 1994. In the intervening 46 years, Piggott rode 4,493 winners and became Champion Jockey eleven times, including eight years running between 1964 and 1971.

Piggott was uncommonly tall for a Flat jockey, at 5′ 8″, and his height, together with his idiosyncratic, short riding style, led to him being nicknamed the ‘Long Fellow’. He was also famously tight-lipped, mainly due to a hearing impairment and slight speech impediment, and was known, less kindly, as ‘Old Stone Face’. Piggott enjoyed fruitful associations with three of the most successful trainers in the history of British Flat racing, namely Sir Noel Murless, Vincent O’Brien and Sir Henry Cecil, and won 30 English Classics; he remains the leading jockey in the history of the Derby, with nine wins between 1954 and 1983.

Remarkably, Piggott also remains, far and away, the most successful jockey in the history of Royal Ascot, with 116 victories, including a record 11 in the Gold Cup, in an era when the Royal Meeting was confined to four days. He also rode Nijinsky, trained by Vincent O’Brien, to victory in the 2,000 Guineas, Derby and St. Leger in 1970, thereby completing the English Triple Crown.

Piggott retired from race riding for the first time in 1985, but was subsequently found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, of which he served just over a year. He came out of retirement in 1990, famously winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Belmont Park, New York on Royal Academy, also trained by Vincent O’Brien, less than two weeks after his return to the saddle. He also won the 2,000 Guineas in 1992, on Rodrigo De Triano, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, before retiring for a second, and final, time in 1995.

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Jackie Stewart

Sir Jackie Stewart, who was knighted in 2001 for services to motor racing, enjoyed an outstanding Formula One career, winning the World Drivers’ Championship three times, in 1969, 1971 and 1973. Instantly recognisable by his trademark black, Breton-style cap and long hair, Stewart was blessed with charisma, eloquence and no little bravery, in a era when Formula One was still incredibly dangerous. He was widely recognised as the first truly modern professional racing driver and became an international celebrity.

Born John Young Stewart in Milton, Dunbartonshire on June 11, 1939 – hence his nickname, the ‘Flying Scot’ – Stewart formed a close relationship, personal and professional, with the late Ken Tyrell, who provided him with his first opportunity in the British Formula Three Championship in 1964. Driving a Cooper T72, Stewart won seven of the ten rounds to walk off with the BARC Championship.

Four years later, in 1968, Tyrrell achieved his dream of moving to Formula One and Stewart teamed up with him again, with no little success. En route to his first World Drivers’ Championship in 1969, Stewart won five of the first six rounds and may well have won six out of six, but for retiring from the Monaco Grand Prix when fully half a minute in the lead. In 1971, Stewart won six times, clinching his second championship with three races to spare and, in 1973, won five times – setting a world record for the most Grand Prix wins, 26, in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, and improving upon it in the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring the following month – to take the title for the third and final time.

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