LESTER PIGGOTT’S former cellmate turned up at the legendary jockey’s memorial service – along with the likes of Frankie Dettori.
Big names from the world of racing and sport including Seb Coe paid their respects to the sporting giant at St Luke’s Church in Chelsea on Thursday.
Piggott, who won the Derby nine times but was famously jailed in 1987 over tax fraud, died last May aged 86.
One of his former cellmates who apparently ‘looked after’ the jockey during his year at Highpoint prison in Newmarket was one of the notable attendees at Piggott’s memorial, report the Racing Post.
Dettori, 51, was another and he hailed his idol as ‘simply the best’ in a moving Instagram post.
The Italian jockey uploaded a photo of the service sheet and wrote: “Simply the best.
“Incredible person. Will to in. Mainly just feel so lucky that we were friends.
“He loved his incredible family. Charisma. Enigma. Go and ride the clouds Lester.”
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William Haggas and wife Maureen, Lester’s daughter, were among the other racing A-listers at the celebration.
Top trainers John Gosden and Nicky Henderson turned up as well, as did Sir Michael Stoute and Mark Johnston.
Attendees were treated to several James Bond theme songs as they walked in, owing to Piggott’s love of the 007 spy series.
Grandson Sam Haggas and daughter Tracy performed readings, as did son Jamie, who revealed his father’s kind side.
He said he would often buy a suit for a struggling young apprentice – ‘on the condition he never told who had paid’.
Son-in-law and top trainer William delivered his own touching eulogy as more than 700 people came to pay their respects.
SunSport’s chief sports writer Dave Kidd wrote of Piggott ‘wearing the crown in the Sport of Kings’ just after his death.
Piggott died peacefully in Switzerland having been in hospital on several occasions in the months and years prior.
He rode 4,493 winners in Britain alone in a career that lasted the best part of 50 years and saw him become a household name.