Lester Piggott described himself as “honoured” as he watched the Queen unveil a life-sized bronze statue before racing kicked off on Derby day at Epsom.
Her Majesty was at the track for all nine of Piggott’s Derby victories, and in 1957 he rode her own Carrozza to Oaks success.
The Queen met Piggott before unveiling the statue, which is the first of nine bronzes by portrait sculptor William Newton that will be installed at nine different racecourses around the country.
The idea was the brainchild of journalist Neil Morrice, who was joined by Osborne Studio Gallery’s Geoffrey Hughes and Brough Scott, and came to fruition thanks to the support of David and Christopher St George.
The statue is located by the winner’s enclosure and Piggott, who was accompanied by family and friends for the occasion, was delighted by his likeness.
He said: “I think it has been a great idea, it’s marvellous, I am honoured.
“I had seen the statue before today and it is very good. The Queen also seems in great form.”
Piggott claimed his first Derby with Never Say Die in 1954 before going on to triumph with Crepello (1957), St Paddy (1960), Sir Ivor (1968), Roberto (1972), Empery (1976), The Minstrel (1977) and Teenoso (1983).
He also partnered Nijinsky to victory in 1970, with the Vincent O’Brien-trained colt the last to achieve the Triple Crown with victories in the 2000 Guineas and St Leger.