How many times was Pat Eddery Champion Jockey?
Sadly, Patrick James John ‘Pat’ Eddery succumbed to alcoholism before dying, prematurely, at the age of 63, in November, 2015. However, he enjoyed a long, illustrious career, spread over the course of five decades, during which he rode 4,633 winners in Britain and became Champion Jockey 11 times. Indeed, since 1840, only Nat Flatman, George Fordham, Fred Archer and Sir Gordon Richards have won more jockeys’ titles and only Sir Gordon Richards has ridden more winners.
Born in Newbridge, Co. Kildare on March 18, 1952, Eddery began his riding career as apprentice to Seamus McGrath in 1966, before moving to England and joining Prestbury trainer Herbert ‘Frenchie’ Nicholson the following year. Having finished fourth and second in the apprentices’ table in his second and third full seasons, 1969 and 1970, he finally became Champion apprentice in 1971.
Two years later, he succeeded Duncan Keith as stable jockey to Lambourn trainer Peter Walwyn, in which capacity he would become Champion Jockey four years in a row between 1974 and 1977. During his time with Walwyn, Eddery rode his first three British Classic winners, Polygamy in the Oaks in 1974, Grundy in the Derby in 1975 and Scintillate in the Oaks, again, in 1979.
The following year Eddery left Walwyn to succeed Lester Piggott as stable jockey to Vincent O’Brien at Ballydoyle, Co. Tipperary and, later in his career, rode as retained jockey for Khalid Abdullah and as a freelance jockey. All told he won 14 British Classics and rode at least a hundred winners in Britain every year between 1973 and 2001, except 1982, when he was Champion Jockey in Ireland.