Racegoers joined together for a poignant minute’s applause at Epsom Downs this afternoon to celebrate the life of legendary jockey Lester Piggott, who passed away on Sunday.
Piggott, who was 86, had an unparalleled record in the Epsom Downs Classics, winning the Derby nine times and the Oaks on six occasions.
Jockey Ryan Moore, Piggott’s daughter Maureen Haggas and his former valet Brian Yorke visited the statue of the jockey on the Queen Elizabeth II Stand lawn to lay a wreath at 1.15pm today.
The wreath was in the illustrious racing colours of Nijinksy, who won the 1970 Derby for Piggott, trainer Vincent O’Brien and owner Charles W Englehard jnr and was the last winner of the Triple Crown.
The 2022 Cazoo Derby is being run in Piggott’s memory and jockeys riding at the Surrey track will wear black armbands across both days of racing. A minute’s applause will also take place tomorrow (Saturday) before The Derby.
Phil White, London Regional Director for The Jockey Club, said: “No jockey is more synonymous with our most famous race than Lester Piggott. Running The Cazoo Derby in his memory, which we believe has not been done in the 242 previous editions of the race, is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest jockeys of the modern era and the record-holder for most wins by a rider.
“We want to give racegoers on both days the opportunity to pay their respects and celebrate the life and career of this extraordinary sportsman, and we hope that taking the unprecedented step of re-naming The Derby shows the high esteem in which Lester is held.”