Fond Memories of Lester

Date: 12 Jun 2022

Fond Memories of Lester


David writes:


Racing fans around the world would have been sad to read the recent news of the death of Champion Jockey Lester Piggott.  He will always be one of my favourite jockeys.

In February 1972, I was working at Te Karaka Station, a 3,500 acre sheep and cattle station about half way between Te Akau and Port Waikato.  I was earning $30 per week.

The manager of the station was Peter McCowan and I asked him if I could have the Tuesday afternoon off to attend the Waikato Racing Club's International Invitation Stakes' day.

Riding at Te Rapa that day were two of the very best jockeys in the world - Lester Piggott from England and Roy Higgins, the Champion Australian Jockey from Melbourne.  Joining them were other great jockeys from across New Zealand and Australia.

I remember Roy Higgins was riding Game and Lester Piggott was on Sailing Home - two of the very best horses New Zealand has produced in the last 50 years.  Game was in front at the 100 metres but Sailing Home levelled at the 50 metres and got her head in front on the line.

From memory, other good horses in the race included Young Ida, Silver Night, Evenstead, Kirrama and Wiremu to name a few.

Lester was 5'7" tall and rode very short.  He had travelled to New Zealand with his wife, bloodstock agent Susan.

About eight years ago, his grandson Sam Haggas came and stayed with us at Te Akau Stud and accompanied me throughout the Karaka Sale.  He's an outstanding young man and is now himself a successful bloodstock agent under his banner Hurworth Bloodstock.



The family thoroughbred bloodlines continue ... 




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