GBI RACING

Lester Piggott ‘honoured’ to be at Haydock for race celebrating first winner

Lester Piggott was at Haydock Park on Saturday to see Alemaratalyoum get up close home to take the race celebrating the 70th anniversary of his first ever winner.

Weighing-room veteran Joe Fanning timed his run to perfection on the Iain Jardine-trained four-year-old in the Smarkets Lester Piggott 70th Anniversary Handicap that remembered Piggott’s maiden triumph at age of just 12 in 1948.

Apprentice rider Gary Mahon looked like he might come out on top, but Fanning showed the value of his many years of experience by producing Alemaratalyoum (8-1) to win by a neck.

The Chase in a selling handicap was that first winner for Piggott, and appropriately he also recorded the final victory of his glittering career at Haydock, winning on Palacagate Jack in 1994.

He said: “I had some great days here and it’s a tremendous honour for Haydock to run a race in my honour.”

Bill Whittle, former chairman of Haydock and who hosted Piggott for the day, said: “It’s a tremendous privilege for Haydock Park to have been the place for his first and last winner.

“Over that period of time – for any sportsman these days to achieve that would be very special indeed.”

Meanwhile, Jardine said of the winner: “Things didn’t go his way in the Carlisle Bell, and instead of being put into the pack he went forward. Things didn’t go to plan then, but the race panned out perfectly for him here.”

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