Years ago, long before The Wattmeister was even a little Wattmeister, Lester Piggott had won his first horserace as a jockey at the tender age of 12 on a horse called “The Chase” at Haydock Park.
In 1970, by the time The Wattmeister was a pimply 12 year old, Lester had already won The Epsom Derby 5 times, including that year’s edition on the equine superstar Nijinsky.
In those days, the Derby held a significant position of importance in the country’s sporting Calendar. Firstly, it was an unofficial Bank Holiday for many Londoners, combining the unique bustling, raffish atmosphere of the racecourse with the liberating freedom of Epsom Downs, thronged with fairground attractions, bookmakers, and all manner of Health and Safety unfriendly diversions.
Secondly, it was fun.
Central to this cauldron of excitement and anticipation was of course the horse racing and its personalities. None was greater than Lester Piggott, and the tall leathery faced legend became that 12 year old boy’s sporting idol.
In the years that followed, The little Wattmeister used his spare time to study the racing form in the Daily Mirror, and latterly The Sporting Life, paying particular attention to the mounts of Lester Piggott and those of his closest rivals, Scobie Breasley, Pat Eddery, Willie Carson, Edward Hyde and so on.
He absorbed the information like a sponge.
Eventually, all notions of following an auspicious career as a High Court Judge, Queen’s Councillor, Senior Chartered Accountant or the like, were put to one side in pursuit of an alternative lifestyle on British racecourses and greyhound tracks.
The Wattmeister attributes this directly to his worship of Lester Piggott, the greatest jockey, an international sporting superstar and 80 years old today.
Happy Birthday Lester.