An audience with Lester Piggot for the Injured Jockeys Fund

Legendary jockey Lester Piggot will be interviewd by his daughter Tracy at Newbridge’s Riverbank Arts Centre this Thursday.

Legendary jockey Lester Piggot will be interviewd by his daughter Tracy at Newbridge’s Riverbank Arts Centre this Thursday.

Tracy spoke to the Leader about growing up with her famous dad ahead of the sold-out event, which is being staged during Derby week in aid of the Inured Jockeys Fund.

“As I have nothing else to compare it to, growing up with my famous dad really seemed quite normal,” said Tracy.

She recalled his infectious love of horse racing, career highlights, meeting Shergar and the secret of his success.

“He was always extremely focused and was always looking at the next race the next challenge. I think obviously being so immersed in horse racing from an early age had an effect on me and my sister. Horse racing is literally in our blood, as it goes back a number of generations on both of my parents sides.

“He rode from the age of 12 to 59 and I was born when he was 24, so the memories are many. Nijinsky in 1970 was a big one for me. I was five and I remember sitting watching the race and feeling the excitement of it all. Royal Academy springs to mind. That was in Belmont Park in New York for the Breeders Cup and it was after his last comeback, when he was out of prision. A lot of people thought he did not have what it took anymore, but he proved them wrong that day. I know he has fond memories for Sir Ivor, Nijinsky and Roberto.

Tracy said her father had an insatiable hunger for winning. On Thursday night, she will focus on his Derby wins and his relationship with Vincent O’Brien.

“He had total tunnel vision when it came to his career, he knew the form and idiosyncrasies of not only the horse he was going to be riding, but also that of every other horse in the race. He also had an amazing affinity with horses. They responded differently to him than anyone else

“I remember young Walter Swinburn winning on Shergar in the Epsom Derby, and then daddy taking the ride at the Curragh in the Irish equivilent.

“He was a flashy good looking colt, and it was a tragedy what happened to him.”

- Paula Campbell