BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Special Events: 2001: Epsom Derby  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

  Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 01:44 GMT 02:44 UK
Eddery turns back the clock
Eddery rides Quest For Fame to Derby victory in 1990
Eddery rides Quest For Fame to Derby victory in 1990
By Richard Griffiths

As even the great Lester Piggott found out, rides are hard to come by if the whispers start to surface that you are past your best.

That's why the career of Pat Eddery, who rides well-fancied Golan in Saturday's Derby at Epsom, is so remarkable.

At the age of 49, Eddery is widely thought to be riding as well as he has ever been.

That is a belief borne out by the statistics that have had him leading the 2001 jockeys championship, despite the relentless pursuit of his younger, but no more determined or fitter rivals.

Eddery sees no reason why he can't hold on to the lead until the end of the season in November, and give him the significant milestone of a 12th championship - one more than Piggott.

Eddery has won the Epsom Derby three times
Eddery has won the Epsom Derby three times

"As long as I can avoid injury and not pick up too many suspensions I have a good chance," said Eddery.

"Lester was a legend, wasn't he? He was someone I used to look up to when I started. It would be something to beat his total."

Eddery, who has ridden more than 100 winners in 27 of the last 28 seasons, is well on course to continue that impressive run.

Just as importantly to him, he is now less than 130 winners away from the great man's career total of 4,493 wins.

One of those victories could well come in Saturday's showpiece, and ironically Eddery gets the ride on Golan because Kieren Fallon is suspended.

While the task of matching Piggott's record nine Epsom Derby victories is almost certainly beyond Eddery, no other jockey currently riding comes close to matching the Irishman's record there.

He has had 28 rides and three wins, each in a different decade - Grundy in 1975, Golden Fleece in 1982, and Quest For Fame in 1990.

In fact, Eddery will be the only jockey in action at Epsom to have won the Epsom Derby more than once.

Peak

The longer he rides, the more people marvel at Eddery's longevity, especially since his recovery from a serious back injury in 1997, which left him unable to stand upright without severe discomfort.

It is now 32 years since Eddery rode his first winner on Alvaro, appropriately enough at Epsom, on 24 April, 1969.

Two years later he was champion apprentice, before winning the first of his 11 fully fledged titles in 1974.

However, ask him how he has managed to stay at the peak of his powers for such a sustained period of time and Eddery will just look at you blankly.

Piggott won the Derby nine times
Piggott won the Derby nine times

He simply does not understand what the fuss is about.

"As long as I keep riding the winners and the trainers want me and I'm enjoying it, I'll keep going," he said.

Even the approach of his 50th birthday next year may not signal the end.

For Eddery, there is still much to be achieved, many opportunities to be taken...starting at Epsom, at 15:50 BST on Saturday 9 June.

Golan is thought by some observers to be an equine superstar in the making. The horse could not be in better hands.

Epsom Derby

Epsom latest

Keogh at Epsom

Audio/video

Derby sports talk

Clickable guides

Epsom background

BBC coverage

Derby history

Jockey profiles

Derby competition

Photo galleries

Official website
Links to more Epsom Derby stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Epsom Derby stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales