Did Lester Piggott ever win the Grand National?
Horse racing aficionados may baulk at the idea of Lester Piggott, arguably the greatest Flat jockey of all time, ever winning the Grand National, but the notion is not as absurd as it may sound on first hearing. After all, the Piggott family has connections to the Grand National; Keith Piggott, father of Lester, trained Ayala to win the world famous steeplechase in 1963 and his father, Ernie, rode Jerry M and Poethlyn to victory, in 1912 and 1918 and 1919, respectively.
Furthermore, while Lester Piggott is probably best remembered as the leading jockey in the history of the Derby, which he won nine times between 1954 and 1983, he also rode successfully over obstacles in the early years of his career. His career in the sphere of National Hunt racing was confined to hurdles, so he never rode in, never mind won, any steeplechase. Nevertheless, Piggott did record one or two high-profile successes among his 20 victories over the smaller obstacles. In early 1954, for example, he won the Birdlip Hurdle at Cheltenham on Mull Sack and the Triumph Hurdle at Hurst Park on Prince Charlemagne, en route to his first Derby success on Never Say Die the following June.