Her Majesty The Queen will unveil a bronze life-sized statue of nine time Derby winning jockey, Lester Piggott, in his presence, at Epsom Downs Racecourse on Investec Derby Day, Saturday 1 June.
Epsom Downs is honoured to be the first racecourse to reveal one of nine life-size Lester Piggott statues that will be located at courses around the country, sculpted by Willie Newton. These have been created in celebration of champion jockey Lester Piggott’s astonishing nine Derby wins, 65 years since his first.
Her Majesty has been present at Epsom Downs for all of Lester’s nine Derby wins, and the legendary jockey rode an Oaks winner for Her Majesty in the 1957 Derby Meeting, Carrozza.
Lester Piggott said: "The Derby has always been the most important race in England. It attracts the best thoroughbreds and it has been my good fortune to win it a few times on some great horses."
Willie Newton held a professional jockey license in his early years, before becoming a portrait sculptor. He has previously depicted Lester in sculpture riding his 1968 winner, Sir Ivor, at exercise on Epsom Downs. Willie said: “I first met Lester when he was the subject and inspiration for the Derby Trophy I made in 2002, so to be asked to create these very special life-size bronzes is for me just about as important as it gets.”
General manager of Epsom racecourse Simon Durrant said: “We already have the Piggott Gates with their great Peter O’Sullevan tribute to ‘the iconoclast who became an icon’, but to have a life-size statue of the man who dominated Epsom like no other will be a special bonus.”
The 2019 Investec Derby Festival takes place at Epsom Downs Racecourse on Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st June. Buy ticket here.