06 November 2005

Piggott: septugenarian hoop

The Observer has marked the seventieth birthday of Lester Piggot by repinting this classic interview with the gifted conveyer of winners and controversy. Here's a teaser:
"There's two sides to a horse. In the natural state his speed is what keeps him alive - if there's danger, he runs. But he lives in a herd and even when he's running away from danger, he doesn't like to be first: he likes to be in the middle of the herd.

"So in racing, in one way you're taking the horse back to his nature, and in another you're training him and riding him to do something different from what nature intended. I think it's what gives them their character. Because horses are very interesting. There's no two alike. And of course nature taught a horse to run, but not to be ridden. So there's the relationship between the horse and the man on his back.

"...but I don't pay much attention. I think you only pay attention if you care about what people think of you. And you only care if you think a lot about yourself. I don't think about myself much. I think about racing. I don't brood about how I look to other people. I ride as well as I can, and they can clap or boo - it's all the same to me."

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