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Lester Piggott and Frankel announced as inaugural Hall Of Famers

26 Apr 2021

Legendary jockey Lester Piggott and unbeaten Frankel are first entrants into the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall Of Fame

Lester Piggott and Frankel announced as QIPCO British CHampions Series Hall of Famers

Lester Piggott, widely considered to be the greatest jockey of all time; and Frankel, the highest-rated racehorse in history, have become the first two members of the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame, which is unveiled today at Horseracinghof.com.

The first official Hall of Fame for British Flat racing sets out to immortalise the Modern Greats of the sport, both human and equine, from 1970 onwards. On the basis of their undisputed status and achievements within the sport, Lester Piggott and Frankel are the first two champions to become QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Famers.

Lester Piggott first Jockey in the Hall Of Fame

An 11-time champion jockey and winner of 30 British Classics, Piggott is considered a living legend of the sport and is still one of the most recognised names within racing. Nicknamed the ‘Long Fellow’ due to his noteworthy height for a Flat racing jockey (5ft 7½ in), Piggott’s first winner came at the age of just 12 at Haydock Park in 1948.In a remarkable career spanning almost 50 years, he rode 4,493 winners, including countless all-time greats of the turf, among them the likes of Nijinsky,the last horse to win The Triple Crown, comprising The 2000 Guineas, The Derby and The St Leger in 1970. Piggott, 85, now based in Switzerland, received a specially-commissioned medal marking his induction into the Hall of Fame from afar, due to current travel restrictions.

He said: “It is an honour to become the first jockey – and the first person – to be inducted into the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame and I am truly delighted to receive this special medal.

“I feel fortunate to have spent many brilliant years riding such incredible horses and I’m touched to see my story so well preserved through this initiative. The Hall of Fame is a terrific concept and something that racing has deserved for so many
years. Our sport has such an incredible history and I hope that this provides an opportunity for many others to learn about it.

“It’s only right that Frankel is the first horse to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He did everything so easily and was the best by far during his time. He is the one horse that I wish I could have ridden.”

Frankel first horse inducted to Hall Of Fame

As the highest-rated horse in history, unbeaten in 14 starts and with 10 Group 1 races to his name, Frankel is an undisputed Modern Great who penetrated the public consciousness in a way that few Flat racing horses are able to do.

Frankel, trained by the late, great Sir Henry Cecil, was simply on a different level and seemed to revel in blitzing his rivals with speed, stamina and an abnormally huge stride pattern. Other notable displays were produced in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2012, one of the greatest performances over the mile distance; while his seven-length win at the Juddmonte International at York over the extended distance of a mile and a quarter is widely recognised as his best.
His emotional farewell at QIPCO British Champions Day 2012 came in front of Her Majesty The Queen and a sell-out Ascot crowd, with Frankel fending off previous winner Cirrus Des Aigles to win the QIPCO Champion Stakes, securing an official rating of 141 (which is still unbeaten) and signing off a remarkable, unbeaten career.

Frankel’s jockey, Tom Queally, said: “I’m pleased that Frankel’s unblemished career has been acknowledged by the new Hall of Fame initiative, and I’m especially delighted that he is the first racehorse to be given the accolade. I will always fondly remember the moments I spent with him.”

Achieving a place in the Hall of Fame is expected to become one of the highest accolades within the sport, reflecting extraordinary achievements and contributions to British Flat racing, while providing a reason to celebrate horseracing’s most famous stars. Launching ahead of the start of the QIPCO British Champions Series, which commences with The QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket (1-2 May), the next inductions will take place ahead of QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 16 October, when Lester Piggott and connections of Frankel will also attend as Guests of Honour.