Lester Piggott and Frankel have become the first two members of the Qipco British Champions Series Hall of Fame.
Launched to mark the 10th anniversary of Qipco’s sponsorship of the British Champions Series, the first official Hall of Fame for British Flat racing sets out to immortalise greats of the sport, both human and equine, from 1970 onwards.
Piggott is widely regarded as one of the greatest Flat jockeys of all time, having won almost 4,500 races during a glittering riding career, including a record nine victories in the Derby at Epsom.
The 85-year-old, now based in Switzerland, received a specially-commissioned medal marking his induction into the Hall of Fame from afar, due to current travel restrictions.
Piggott said: “It is an honour to become the first jockey – and the first person – to be inducted into the Qipco British Champions Series Hall of Fame and I am truly delighted to receive this special medal.
“I feel fortunate to have spent many brilliant years riding such incredible horses and I’m touched to see my story so well preserved through this initiative. The Hall of Fame is a terrific concept and something that racing has deserved for so many years.
“Our sport has such an incredible history and I hope that this provides an opportunity for many others to learn about it.
“It’s only right that Frankel is the first horse to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He did everything so easily and was the best by far during his time. He is the one horse that I wish I could have ridden.”
Frankel is the highest-rated racehorse in history – retiring unbeaten in 14 starts for the late Sir Henry Cecil.
Sheikh Fahad bin Abdullah Al-Thani, director of Qipco Holding, recently presented Frankel’s connections with his Hall of Fame medal.
He said: “Watching Frankel win the 2000 Guineas 10 years ago was a surreal experience and I’ve not had one like it on a racecourse before. The crowds were on their feet and clapping at halfway – Frankel completely demolished the rest of the field.
“It was an amazing day. It is absolutely fitting to see such an incredible horse inducted into the Qipco British Champions Series Hall of Fame alongside another legend of the sport in Lester Piggott.”
Douglas Erskine Crum, chief executive officer of Juddmonte Group, which is owned by the family of Frankel’s late owner Prince Khalid Abdullah and is where Frankel currently stands, said: “On behalf of Prince Khalid’s family, for Frankel to be the first to be inducted into the Qipco British Champions Series Hall of Fame is testament to Prince Khalid’s passion and vision for the thoroughbred.
“It is his legacy that Frankel should be the first horse to be recognised, alongside Lester Piggott, who rode Prince Khalid’s very first winner, Charming Native, to victory at Windsor in May 1979.
“Everyone at Juddmonte is delighted to be a part of this exciting new venture for British racing and thanks Sheikh Hamad and Sheikh Fahad of Qipco for their generous partnership with this prestigious accolade.”
Rod Street, chief executive officer of British Champions Series added: “We are delighted to announce Frankel and Lester Piggott as the very first inductees into the Qipco British Champions Series Hall of Fame.
“The Series showcases the world’s finest Flat racing and there have been no greater talents in our sport than the two which we are honouring today.
“Along with Qipco, and the judging panel, we look forward to celebrating racing’s rich history and continuing to honour further greats of the sport through the Hall of Fame initiative.”