Lester Piggott: Legendary former jockey in hospital but ‘in good shape’

Piggott was champion jockey 11 times during a record-breaking careerLegendary former jockey Lester Piggott is in hospital but reported to be in “good shape” as he has “routine tests”.The 83-year-old, who won the Derby at Epsom a record nine times, has had heart problems in the past.Piggott racked up 30 British Classic wins during his riding career, and 116 Royal Ascot victories.”He’ll be in for a few more days but was taken in as a precautionary measure,” said Piggott’s daughter Maureen after visiting him in hospital.Lester Piggott on Frankie. Frankel and fairytalesPiggott’s success as a jockey came despite a starvation diet, reputedly majoring in champagne and cigars, and riding at up to a stone and a half below his natural weight. Tall for a Flat jockey at nearly 5ft 8in, he weighed as little as 8st 5lb”He’s in good shape considering he’s been abusing his body since he was 16,” Maureen, the wife of trainer William Haggas, told the Racing Post.Piggott was jailed for three years in 1987 after being found guilty of an alleged tax fraud of more than £3m. With time off for good behaviour, he served a year and a day in prison.After a stalled training career and prison, he made a triumphant return to the saddle in 1990 at the age of 54.Just 12 days out of his second retirement, Piggott guided Royal Academy, trained by old ally Vincent O’Brien, to victory in one of the world’s richest races – the $1m Breeders’ Cup Mile.

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