Is William Haggas related to Lester Piggott?
The short answer is yes, he is, at least by marriage. In 1989, Haggas married Maureen, the elder daughter of Lester Piggott, officially making him the son-in-law of the former eleven-time champion jockey. Indeed, according to Haggas, as far as his training career is concerned, ‘Lester has always been extremely helpful in lots and lots of ways.’
Born in Skipton, North Yorkshire in 1960, Haggas was educated at Harrow but, following an abortive, three-month spell in the family textile business, headed to Newmarket. He effectively begged employment, in any capacity, from the late Jeremy Hindley, who trained a horse for his father and had recently acquired Clarehaven Stables on the Bury Road.
The rest, as they say, is history. After two years as assistant to Sir Mark Prescott and four more as assistant to the late John Winter, Haggas first took out a training licence in his own right in November, 1986. He sent out his first winner from Somerville Lodge, Tricky Note, in April, 1987 and has since saddled over 2,000 more, including two Classic winners. Haggas won the Derby with Shaamit in 1996 and the Oaks with Dancing Rain in 2011 and, at the last count, had 21 Group 1 winners to his name at home and abroad. He saddled over a hundred winners in a season for the first time in 2013 and has done so again in every season since, amassing over £2 million in prize money – indeed, over £3 million in 2018 and 2019 – on each occasion.