Statue of Racing Legend to be unveiled at York

A statue of racing legend, Lester Piggott, will be unveiled at York Racecourse on the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, Wednesday 21 August.

Though born in Wantage, the Piggott family trace their roots back to the north and the eleven time champion jockey often described York as his favourite track.

It was also a successful venue for the man often known as “the Long Fellow”; with five victories in the Group One Juddmonte International, four in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks and seven in the fastest race of the season, the Coolmore Nunthorpe, all forming part of a career total of 4,493 wins.

The life size bronze, by sculptor William Newton, will be set in front of the Edwardian Weighing Room; the base for his rides on great horses such as Dahlia and Rodrigo de Triano.

The statue was commissioned by David and Christopher St George for whose family Piggott rode many top-class horses including dual Gold Cup at Royal Ascot winner Ardross, a fine stayer that also brought two Yorkshire Cups his way.

Racing journalist and broadcaster Brough Scott reported on the many highs of a career that saw winners spread over six decades and has been a key part of the project to see a permanent memory of Piggott on display at nine courses around the country, he said; ”Lester loved York, the crowd understood a good horse and a good ride, generous in their praise and astute in any criticism. Bringing home Jupiter Island as a 9/1 winner of the Ebor went down well in these parts”.

With the man himself due to be in attendance, it will be a pleasant duty for York Racecourse Chairman, Lord Grimthorpe, to unveil the statue; he commented, “as well as the many pattern race successes Lester enjoyed here, I have fond memories of the summer of ’69 when he partnered My Swannee to victories in a brace of traditionally competitive Knavesmire Handicaps, including the  Magnet Cup of that year”.

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