Legendary jockey Lester Piggott, 86, in hospital in Switzerland, as family confirm 'he's battling'
THE Queen's favourite jockey Lester Piggott, 86, is in hospital in Switzerland, his family have confirmed.
The nine-time Epsom Derby winner, who was admitted to intensive care with a heart problem in 2007, is 'battling', son-in-law William Haggas said.
Piggott, one of the world's most famous sportsmen during his pomp, is to be visited by daughter Maureen today.
Haggas told Sky Sports Racing: "I believe he is in hospital and I think Maureen is going over to see him. Jamie, his son, is already there.
"He’s battling a bit, but he’s a tough man. Hopefully he’ll pull through and get home as soon as possible.
"All we can do is train plenty of winners and keep him amused, that’s what we’re trying to do.
"I don’t think he thinks about what he’s achieved, but he loves the adulation that he gets every time he steps out into a public place."
Piggott, who also had 'routine tests' on his heart in 2018, made a quick recovery from his 2007 scare, but the reason for his latest hospital visit has not been revealed.
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The jockey, who rode more than 4,000 career wins and made the Derby his own between 1954 and 1983, is regarded as one of the best Flat riders of all time.
The Queen unveiled a statue in his honour at Epsom racecourse in 2019.
Outside of the saddle, he was famously convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to three years in prison in 1987.
But that never diminished his towering reputation as a jockey earned through a 48-year-career.
Piggott moved to Rolle, a Swiss town on the outskirts of Lake Geneva, in 2012.
He lives there with partner Lady Barbara Fitzgerald after separating from Susan, his wife of 52 years.
Piggott has two daughters with Susan, Maureen, married to top trainer William, and Tracy, 46, a sports presenter for RTE in Ireland.
Tracy and her daughter Thea unveiled a statue of Piggott at Curragh racecourse in Ireland last Saturday.
Piggott won five Irish Derbys and three 2000 Guineas races at the iconic Flat track.
He was in the first draft of inductees into the British Champions Series Hall of Fame last year.
DERBY LEGEND OBSESSED WITH WINNING
Frankie Dettori labelled Piggott his 'idol' – even if they had an awkward exchange when Piggott made a comeback to racing aged 55.
Dettori revealed how in one race Piggott, hellbent on winning, resorted to yanking his privates.
The Italian said: "As we come into the bend at the halfway point I glance to my left and see him behind me.
"He reaches over, grabs my balls and squeezes as hard as he can.
"The pain’s extraordinary. I feel my eyes watering behind my goggles. He says, 'that’ll teach you to be cocky, you little s**t'."
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