Pat Eddery ‘the man we all aspired to be in the saddle’

Figures from world of racing and beyond pay tribute to 11-time champion jockey

Pat Eddery. ‘I doubt you’d find a jockey with a sharper tactical brain or stronger in a finish,’ said Lester Piggott. Photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA

Pat Eddery. ‘I doubt you’d find a jockey with a sharper tactical brain or stronger in a finish,’ said Lester Piggott. Photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA

 

Tributes from the world of racing and beyond marked the death of Pat Eddery, the 11-time champion jockey widely considered one of the best to ever get in the saddle.

His contemporary Lester Piggott described the 63-year-old as “a natural horseman”.

Piggott won the jockeys’ championship the same number of times as his friend Eddery and the pair enjoyed an intense racecourse rivalry.

“The horses he was associated with speak for themselves, and I doubt you’d find a jockey with a sharper tactical brain or stronger in a finish,” he said.

Steve Drowne, joint president of the Professional Jockeys Association, said Eddery was “the man we all aspired to be in the saddle”.

“Everyone looked up to him in the weighing room,” he added. “[He was] just a great person to be around. A professional’s professional.”

Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland and chairman of the European Pattern Committee said it was a “sad day for racing with the passing of Pat Eddery”.

Delivering a stream of tributes throughout yesterday, Twitter gave voice to an industry in mourning.

Former champion jockey Kieren Fallon wrote: “Very sad to hear the news of Pat Eddery, one of the best jockeys around & a true professional, prayers are with his family.”

Jockey-turned-trainer Richard Hughes tweeted: “What a jockey and great friend Pat Eddery. We will miss you.”

The former Channel 4 racing pundit John McCririck said: “Very sad to hear about the incredible 11 times champion jockey #PatEddery – RIP.”

French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, who struck up an alliance with Eddery, said he had always been “positive and fair” as a rider.

“Pat was not just an amazing jockey – look at all he has won – but he was also a nice person. He died far too young. It’s very sad.”

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