On his return to race riding in 1990, which was Lester Piggott’s first winner?

Lester Piggott retired from race riding, for the first time, in 1985 and became a successful trainer, based at Eve Lodge Stables in Newmarket. However, in 1987, Piggott was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, of which he served just over a year, for income tax evasion and stripped of his OBE, which he had been awarded for service to horse racing in 1975.

In 1990, Piggott surprising came out of retirement to resume his career as a jockey at the age of 54. Indeed, less than a month shy of his fifty-fifth birthday, Piggott rode his first winner, Nicholas, trained by his wife, Susan, at Chepstow on October 16, 1990. Less than two weeks later, he rode Royal Academy, trained by Vincent O’Brien, to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Belmont Park on October 27, 1990.

Piggott continued riding until 1995 – notably winning the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Rodrigo De Triano, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, in 1992 – before officially retiring for a final time. For the record, he rode his last winner, Palacegate Jack, trained by Jack Berry, at Haydock Park on October 5, 1994. All told, Piggott rode 4,493 winners, including an unprecedented 30 British Classic winners; he remains, far and away, the most successful jockey in the history of Royal Ascot, with 116 winners. It would probably be fair to say that we will never see his like again.

Which horse was Ruby Walsh’s first winner on British soil?

Rupert ‘Ruby’ Walsh announced his retirement, with immediate effect, after winning the Punchestown Gold Cup on Kemboy, trained by Willie Mullins, on May 1, 2019. He thus brought to an end a riding career that began at Leopardstown on May 17, 1995 – three days after his sixteenth birthday – and yielded 2,767 winners in Britain and Ireland combined. Walsh remains the third most successful National Hunt jockey in history, behind only Sir Anthony McCoy and Richard Johnson.

Born in Kill, Co. Kildare, Walsh was champion jump jockey in his native land on twelve occasions between 1998/99 and 2016/17 but, as far as a British audience is concerned, was best known for his exploits at the Cheltenham Festival. Thanks to fruitful associations with Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls – multiple champion trainers on their respective sides of the Irish Sea – Walsh rode a record 59 winners at the March showpiece and won the leading jockjey award eleven times between 2004 and 2017.

Walsh rode his first winner in Britain, Major Jamie, trained by Arthur Moore, in the William Hill Hurdle at Sandown Park on December 6, 1997, while still riding as ‘Mr. R. Walsh’. Indeed, he did not turn professional until the 1998/1999 season, by which time he had already ridden his first Cheltenham Festival winner, Alexander Banquet, trained by Mullins, in what is now the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, in March, 1998.




Which horse was Sam Twiston-Davies’ 1000th winner?

Born in Naunton, Gloucestershire on October 15, 1992, Sam Twiston-Davies is, of course, the elder son of two-time Grand National-winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies. He began his riding career in 2008/09, but came to the attention of the wider racing public when, on March 19, 2010 – as a 17-year-old amateur – he rode Baby Run, trained by his father, to victory in the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

The following season, 2010/11, Twiston-Davies set his sights on winning the conditional jockeys’ championship and achieved his ambition, riding 59 winners and, thereby, losing his claim during the campaign. Further success followed, with 81 winners in 2011/12, 87 in 2012/13 – including his first Grade 1 winner, The New One, in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival – and 145 in 2013/14. At the start of 2014/15 season, Twiston-Davies landed the job of stable jockey to multiple champion trainer Paul Nicholls, replacing Daryl Jacob, and would remain in that position until 2018, when he left go freelance.

Twiston-Davies brought up 1,000 winners on British soil when winning a novices’ handicap hurdle at Southwell on Chef De Troupe, trained by Dr. Richard Newland, on June 23, 2019. Reflecting on his achievement, at the age of 26, he said, ‘Obviously, it’s great. I’ve been very lucky, supported by a lot of really good people over the years, especially my dad, and Dr Newland has been fantastic; then obviously, the years with Paul [Nicholls] were amazing.’

Did Andrew Turnell once have a runner in the Derby?

The short answer is yes, he did. Formerly a successful National Hunt jockey with 482 winners to his name, Andrew ‘Andy’ Turnell turned to training following the death of his father, Bob, in 1982. In 2013, he suffered a stroke, which curtailed his training career and, two years later, he handed the training licence at his yard in Broad Hinton, Wiltshire to his assistant, Sally Randell.

However, in his heyday, during the Eighties and Nineties, Turnell was best known as a National Hunt trainer. Indeed, from his original base in East Hendred, Oxfordshire he famously sent out the 1987 Grand National winner, Maori Venturi, in the colours of 92-year-old Jim Joel. Turnell also tasted success at the Cheltenham Festival, saddling Katabatic to victory in the Grand Annual Chase in 1990 and, more importantly, in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1991.

As far as the Derby was concerned, Turnell saddled his one and only runner in the Epsom Classic in 2002, by which time he had moved to the historic Highfield Stables in Malton, North Yorkshire. The colt in question was Jelani, a son of French Derby winner Darshaan, who had won once from three starts as a juvenile, but finished only fifth of nine, beaten 4¾ lengths, behind Moon Ballad in the Dante Stakes at York on his first start as a three-year-old.

At Epsom, Jelani was sent off joint rank outsider of the twelve runners at 100/1, but belied those odds by finishing fourth. Jelani lost his place at halfway and was soon pushed along by jockey Fergal Lynch but, although struggling in eighth place on the home turn, ran on again in the final quarter of mile. He proved no match for the Aidan O’Brien-trained pair High Chaparral and Hawk Wing, who pulled 12 lengths clear of the third horse, Moon Ballad, but was beaten just a length by his old rival.

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