Steve Cauthen When Steve Cauthen arrived in Britain as a lank 18-year-old in the spring of 1979, he had already achieved more than most jockeys can hope for in a lifetime. In his first full season, 1977, he had ridden 487 winners in America and become the first jockey to win $6 million in calendar year. The following year he won the American Triple Crown – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes – on Affirmed and was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated.


Cauthen made an immediate impact in Britain, winning on his very first ride, Marquee Universal, owned by Robert Sangster and trained by Barry Hills, at Salisbury in April 1979, but that was just a foretaste of things to come for the man affectionately known as “The Kid”. A month later, he won the 2,000 Guineas on Tap On Wood for Barry Hills, prevailing by half a length for the previously unbeaten Kris, trained by Henry Cecil and ridden by Joe Mercer.


In the years that followed, Cauthen continued to flourish under the auspices of Barry and Penny Hills, whom he later described as “like parents to me”, at Lambourn and became Champion Jockey for the first time in 1984, with 150 winners. Cauthen left Barry Hills to replace Lester Piggott as stable jockey to Henry Cecil in 1985 and so began a mesmerizing partnership that would last until Cauthen’s retirement seven years later.


In his first year at Warren Place, Cauthen won the Fillies’ Triple Crown – the 1,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St. Leger – on Oh So Sharp and the Derby on Slip Anchor. Having won the Lingfield Derby Trial by 10 lengths on Slip Anchor, Cauthen insisted on riding him every day in the build-up to the Derby and, four days before the race, apparently told his lad, Dave Goodwin, “This is a ****ing certainty.” History records that Cauthen was right; Slip Anchor became the first horse for nearly 60 years to make all in the Derby, eventually winning by 7 lengths.


Cauthen was Champion Jockey again in 1985, with 195 winners, and won his third, and final, jockeys’ title in 1987, with 197 winners, edging out Pat Eddery after a titanic duel at Doncaster on the final day of the season. He was fourth in the jockeys’ championship the following year, despite being hospitalised with concussion after a fall at Goodwood in August, which ruled him out for most of the season, and second to Eddery in 1989.


However, by that stage of his career Cauthen, now 29, was struggling to maintain his riding weight of 8st 7lb. Nevertheless, he continued at the top of the tree until 1992 when, after a year as retained jockey for Sheikh Mohammed, the Sheikh sought to reduce his reputed retainer of £1 million per season. Cauthen retired back to Kentucky at the age of 32 with no hard feelings towards his former employer. During his career, Cauthen rode a total of 2,794 winners, including 10 British Classic winners, and had the distinction of winning the Derby, the Irish Derby, the Prix du Jockey Club and the Derby Italiano, as well as the Kentucky Derby.

Paul Hanagan Born on the 8th September 1980 and hailing from Cheshire, Paul Hanagan is a ex champion jockey of great acclaim in the flat racing world.


Having never been in the saddle until the late age of 14 and having had his eyes firmly fixed on a career on the green grass of a football field rather than a racetrack, Paul Hanagan was a graduate of the British Racing School after great encouragement from his father, Geoff Hanagan. Deemed ‘too small’ for professional football, he helped out as a weekend work experience stable hand for trainer Terry Caldwell, based in Warrington, which ultimately led to the pivotal moment when Hanagan realised that racing had gotten under his skin and into his blood.

Captivated by what he saw at Caldwell’s yard, Hanagan would get his first taste of being a jockey, being allowed to ride out at the age of 14 and begin training the British Racing School, graduating in 1997.




Hanagan got his first taste of senior racing on Stone Beck 4 days shy of his 18th birthday , racing to a creditable 4th place under the stewardship of Malcolm Jefferson, who was better known for his work in National Hunt training. Jefferson knew his onions and he saw a promising flat jockey in Hanagan, guiding the young man to join Richard Fahey as an apprentice flat jockey just a year later.

Over the next four years, the apprentice jockey saw his promise turn into results, improving each season and gaining the title of Champion Apprentice in 2002. He did this by riding a highly impressive 87 winners, the 2nd most since the end of WWII, which included a win on Vintage Premium in the John Smith’s Cup.


Richard Fahey foretold a big future for Paul Hanagan and he wasn’t wrong. Having matured over the next few years, he won his first senior Champion Jockey title in 2010 with a brilliant 191 winners and then backing that up by winning it again in 2011, beating Silvestre De Sousa from Brazil on the very last day of the season.

After this great achievement, Hanagan took a brief sabbatical and stated that he need a break after all his efforts. He did return the next year, but he never again hit the heights of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. To this day, he attributes much of his success to Richard Fahey who he spent 14 years with and he will forever be included in the pantheon of great flat jockeys.


Lester Piggott No list of racing greats would be complete without the inclusion of Lester Keith Piggott, the epitome of balance, strength and tactical awareness, the leading jockey in Britain for three decades and the winner of over 4,000 winners in Britain alone.



Born on November 5, 1935 in Wantage, Oxfordshire, from good racing stock, Piggott rode his first winner, The Chase, at Haydock on August 8, 1948 as a 12-year-old boy. A decade later, he was the most successful jockey in the country. He rode his first Derby winner, Never Say Die, on June 3, 1954 as an 18-year-old and, after 103 days’ suspension for his riding of the same horse in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, was appointed to succeed Sir Gordon Richards as first jockey to Noel Murless, the leading postwar trainer in Britain.


The appointment was to mark the start of a fruitful association with the Warren Place trainer, which was to last for the next twelve years and yield two more Derby winners, Crepello in 1957 and St. Paddy in 1960, and seven Classic winners in all. In fact, such was the success of the partnership that it came as a shock to the racing world when, having insisted on riding the 1966 Oaks winner, Valoris, for Vincent O’Brien instead of Murless’ Varinia, who finished third, Piggott announced he was now a freelance jockey.


He rode his first winner Derby for Vincent O’Brien, Sir Ivor, in 1968 and three more, Nijinksy in 1970, Roberto in 1972 and The Minstrel in 1977, before the pair decided to go their separate ways in the autumn of 1979.


Nijinsky, a son of the then untried stallion, Northern Dancer, bought by owner Charles W. Engelhard, Jr. on the recommendation of Vincent O’Brien, was probably Piggott’s most famous winning ride in the Derby. Having already won the 2,000 Guineas, under Piggott, Nijinksy went on to make history by becoming the first horse since Bahram, in 1935, to win the Triple Crown by beating Meadowville by a length in the St. Leger later the same season.


Following the retirement of Joe Mercer, Piggott joined Henry Cecil, at that time married to Noel Murless’ daughter, Julie, who had taken over at Warren Place in 1976. Further success followed, with Piggott winning the 1,000 Guineas on Fairy Footsteps in 1981, as well the Derby for first-season trainer Geoff Wragg on Teenoso in 1983.


However, after a public scandal over an unofficial contract, which Cecil had attempted to arrange with his owners, on Piggott’s behalf, but without the knowledge of the Jockey Club and a protracted rift between Piggott and one of Cecil’s leading owners, Daniel Wildenstein, it was announced, on June 5, 1984, that American Steve Cauthen would replace Piggott as stable jockey the following season.


At the end of the 1985 season, Piggott retired from race riding, at the age of 50, and became a trainer at Eve Lodge Stables, Newmarket. However, no sooner had he started his new career than questions about his financial affairs. An investigation into unpaid back taxes is believed to have cost him a knighthood in 1986 and, in 1987, was he found guilty of tax fraud and jailed for three years.


Having served a year and a day inside and stripped of the OBE that he had been awarded in 1975, he was released on parole in 1988. With the training licence at Eve Lodge in the hands of his then wife, Susan, Piggott kept himself fit by riding out regularly, but it was still a major surprise when he returned to race riding at Leicester on October 15, 1990. He rode a double at Chepstow the following day and eleven days later rode Royal Academy to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Belmont Park, New York for Vincent O’Brien. Justifiably, Piggott described Royal Academy, coincidentally a son of Nijinsky, as “the most satisfying winner I ever had.”


Piggott rode his final Classic winner, Rodrigo De Triano, for Peter Chapple-Hyam in the 2,000 Guineas in 1992, at the age of 56. Despite breaking his collarbone and two ribs in a fall in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Gulfstream Park, Florida, later the same year, he returned to race riding the following February and continued until 1994. Fittingly, he rode his last winner on Palacegate Jack at Haydock – the same Merseyside course on which he had ridden his first winner 46 years earlier – on October 5, 1994.


Famously taciturn, partially as a result of being severely hearing-impaired since birth, Piggott faced constant problems with his weight, starving his 5 ft 8in frame down to around 8st 2lbs for most of his of his career. His nickname, the “Long Fellow”, stemmed in part from his height, but also from his bespoke, short riding style, which hoisted his backside high into the air making him easy to pinpoint in any race.


When he retired for the second and final time, Piggott had ridden 4,493 winners in Britain, including 30 Classic winners, and been crowned Champion Jockey 11 times. In 2012, at the age of 77, Piggott moved to Geneva, Switzerland to start a new life with Lady Barbara Fitzgerald, 55, after leaving Susan, his wife of 52 years. Piggott’s 19-year-old son, Jamie, the product of a 16-year affair with former assistant, Anna Ludlow, rode in his first professional race at Killarney on July 18, 2013, so the name “Piggott” is likely to appear on British racecards for a good while yet.