London - Lester Piggott, widely regarded as the greatest ever flat race
jockey, has been admitted to hospital although his family say it is for
purely precautionary reasons.
The 83-year-old, who rode 30 British
Classic winners including a record nine Epsom Derbies, has suffered
from heart issues in the past.
"He'll be in for a few more days but was taken in as a precautionary
measure," Piggott's daughter, Maureen Haggas, told the Racing Post after
visiting him in hospital.
Known as 'The Long Fellow' - because
at 5ft 8ins (1.73 metres) he was tall for a flat jockey - Piggott
racked up 116 victories at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting.
He battled to keep his weight down and subsisted on a diet of champagne and cigars and regular visits to the sauna.
in good shape considering he's been abusing his body since he was 16,"
said Maureen, wife of leading trainer William Haggas.
sentenced to three years in jail in 1987 after being found guilty of an
alleged tax fraud of more than £3 million. With time off for good
behaviour he served a year and a day.
Showing his trademark
resilience he returned to the saddle - he had not flourished as a
trainer - in 1990 aged 54 and produced one of the more remarkable
Less than a fortnight later he rode Royal
Academy to victory in the Million dollar Breeders' Cup Mile for iconic
Irish trainer, the late Vincent O'Brien.
Despite serving time many
believe he deserved a knighthood - fellow jockeys such as Gordon
Richards and AP McCoy have been ennobled by Queen Elizabeth II.