Patrick James John Eddery has already equalled Piggott's record of 11 jockeys' championships and following Silver Patriarch's victory in Saturday's St Leger, the 4,000th of his rider's career, the crosshairs are now targeted on the maestro's overall domestic total of 4,493.
"I'm overwhelmed about getting to 4,000," Eddery said at Longchamp yesterday. "Now I've got a good chance of getting to Lester. I'd be delighted if I could equal his record because I've known Lester a long time and he's been a good mate, and I've always admired him as a great rider, the best I've seen.
"I'll just carry on and see how it goes over the next few years. If I feel good, I'll ride as long as I can."
Eddery, who also has Gordon Richards ahead of him, even further up the cliff face on 4,870 winners, rode his first winner, Alvaro, on 24 April, 1969. Since then the chain of success has been unbroken. "I just want to be a jockey, just like I wanted to be from day one," he said. "That came along and then I became leading jockey and won a Derby, which was my dream, and from there on it's just been roses. I've had a good season every year. Racing's been great to me.
"I'm not as young as Frankie Dettori and those boys, but I'm still going out there and winning races so I can't complain."
The Irishman employs a limited vocabulary for broadcast purposes, but there is a lot more to him than he uses for the microphones. He is the Don of the weighing room, where he engenders much respect as the inheritor of Piggott's mantle. Eddery celebrated on Saturday night with a couple of glasses of champagne, which he could easily have wrung out of his silks at Doncaster following a celebratory drenching from his colleagues.
It is a tribute to the 45-year-old's professionalism that never once has anyone suggested that anno Domini has wrestled away any of his effectiveness. Not much public emotion has emanated from Eddery's body down the years either, but there was a palpable reaction when he crossed the line at Town Moor. He actually punched the air.
Peter Winfield, Silver Patriarch's owner-breeder, has already inquired of his cohorts about a further foray in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Both Eddery and John Dunlop, the grey's trainer, consider an early hibernation to be the best policy, however. "I personally would like to see him pack up for the year because I know he's going to be a better four-year-old," Eddery said. "He's a big frame of a horse and he can only get better.
"Next year I'd like to see him come back for the mile and a half races. He'll be stronger and show quite a lot more speed. He had the toe at Epsom remember, when he was only beaten a whisker. I'm sure you'll see a different horse next year." It will still, though, be the same enduring, formidable jockey.Reuse content