Smarkets Ladies Day: Rose of Lancaster Stakes on Saturday 11 August marks the 70th anniversary of Flat racing’s greatest jockey, Lester Piggott’s first ever victory.
In 1948, at the young age of 12, Lester won his first ever race at Haydock Park on “The Chase” for owners Mr & Mrs B J R Lavington kick-starting his triumphant and impressive career.
Lester who currently resides in Geneva, Switzerland will be attending the raceday with his wife Susan and other family members.
Lester was crowned Champion Jockey eleven times and clocked up an impressive 5,300 winners worldwide including 4,493 Flat winners in the UK, 30 English Classics, 9 Epsom Derby’s and 20 over hurdles. Impressively, Lester rode 95 winners alone at Haydock Park Racecourse and celebrated his final win of his career at the track aboard Palacegate Jack in 1994 for former trainer Jack Berry.
Jack Berry said: “Lester studied the horse and could read their minds. He was the greatest ever jockey.”
To celebrate Lester’s career achievements on Saturday 11th August, Haydock Park have named the fourth race of the day, The Smarkets Lester Piggott 70th Anniversary Handicap Stakes.
Lester Piggott said: “I am very grateful to Haydock Park for commemorating a minor race run so very long ago.
“That seller back in 1948 was to prove the start of a very long career, and I’m delighted that Haydock was at the end of that career as well – the course where I rode my last winner in Britain in 1994.”
Jump racing legend, Sir AP McCoy said “He was my hero growing up. I don’t think there will ever be a jockey who is mentioned in the same breath as Lester Piggott. Even now, Frankie is by far the most well-known jockey but he even hasn’t got what level Lester had. Lester Piggott was one of the greatest sportsman of my time and I think will always be. 70 years ago since he rode his first winner and people are still talking about it, there’s not many sports people like that.”
Watch the full video of Sir AP McCoy talking about Lester Piggott’s unforgettable career...
Leading female rider, Josephine Gordon said “It’s brilliant to be celebrating Lester Piggott’s 70th anniversary, he’s huge in the sport and us jockeys, we all look up to him”
The Rose of Lancaster Stakes Day celebrates fashion and style alongside some of the finest flat racing. Featuring a superb seven race card including the Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes race and one of the richest Ladies races in Europe, the Smarkets Haydock Park Ladies Trophy Handicap Stakes, the card will be attracting some of the top trainers.
Off the track, racegoers will have the chance of being crowned the “Most Stylish Individual” in the Style Stakes competition to win a £2K holiday courtesy of Haydock Park Racecourse as well as a personal styling session, £100 gift voucher and a photoshoot with a professional photographer courtesy of Olivia May.
ITV host and personality, Vernon Kay will be with us to spin the decks after racing with a set that’s sure to keep Haydock Park rocking into the early evening.