Lester Piggott, horse racing legend, hospitalized in Switzerland

Nine-time Derby Epsom winner Lester Piggott is hospitalized in Switzerland, where he lives, said his son-in-law, England coach William Haggas.

Haggas did not reveal why Piggott, 86, was taken to hospital, but told Sky Sports Racing: “He struggled a bit but he is a tough guy.

Haggas said his wife Maureen, Piggott’s eldest daughter, would visit him in hospital Monday night and Piggott’s son, Jamie, was at his bedside on Sunday.

“I hope he recovers and returns home as soon as possible,” he said.

“All we can do is train a lot of winners and cheer them on, that’s what we’re trying to do. »

“I don’t think he thinks about what he’s accomplished, but he loves the compliments he gets every time he’s out in public. »

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Piggott, widely regarded as the greatest jockey in the history of the sport, was admitted to intensive care in 2007 for a recurrence of heart problems, but recovered quickly.

“The Long Fellow”, as he is nicknamed, due to his unusual height for a flat jockey, has lived near Geneva since 2012.

Piggott statues adorn nine racetracks in the UK, including Ascot, where he holds the record for most wins at Royal Ascot with 116, and one of which was unveiled at Ireland’s premier racetrack, The Curragh, on Saturday.

He rode the 16 Irish peg winners on the track largely through his relationship with coach Vincent O’Brien.

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The three-time Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe-winning jockey, who has ridden more than 5,000 winners worldwide, was once known as a housewife’s favorite when choosing an Epsom Derby horse to prop.

However, he played down his fame, saying in 2015 that it would fade with time.

“I think a lot of parents still remember me,” he told the Racing Post.

“I may be famous because of them, but younger people don’t really know who I am. Time flies. »

Garfield Woolery

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