Tributes paid as legendary jockey Pat Eddery dies aged 63

David Metcalf | November 10, 2015

Eddery was Champion Flat Jockey 11 times, the winner of 14 British Classics and four Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, one of the most successful riders of all time partnering more than 4,600 winners.

“The Race Of The Century”

He was at his brilliant best when partnering Dancing Brave to a stunning success in the 1986 Arc, and was also associated with some of the best racehorses of the late 20th century. Among them Bosra Sham, Sadler’s Wells, Rainbow Quest, El Gran Senor, Zafonic, Warning, Pebbles and Grundy who he partnered to success over Bustino in the 1975 King George dubbed “The Race Of The Century.”

The Professional Jockeys’ Association said that it was a hugely sad day for the sport of racing, with the loss of one of the all-time greats of the saddle.
Steve Drowne, Joint President of the PJA, revealed: “Pat was a truly great Jockey in every way. He was the man we all aspired to be in the saddle. Everyone looked up to him in the weighing room. Just a great person to be around. A Professional’s Professional.”

“Lovely guy”

Nigel Payne, Chairman of the PJA, said: “When I first went self-employed in the 1990s I was recruited by Mike Watt (then Lester Piggott’s manager) to manage one or two overseas tours.
“I well remember a trip to San Francisco with Pat, Lester, Tony Ives and Yves Saint-Martin. Pat was quite the joker on the trip, often winding Lester and the others, including me, up. He was terrific company and in more recent years whenever I have bumped into Pat he has always greeted me with a warm smile. A lovely guy and his premature passing really saddens me.”

The PJA’s Executive Director (Racing), former jockey Dale Gibson, added: “Whilst at primary school I would read the racing results and cards, one man stood out for me; Pat Eddery. His association with Grundy and Peter Walwyn in the mid-70s lit my fuse. He was the man to follow, luckily enough once starting my riding career I had the good fortune to share the same valet as him, Dave Currie.

“It was a pleasure and a privilege to sit next to him on occasions and an even greater one to ride against him. He never seemed to fluster or show any sign of nerves, whatever the circumstances. He developed his own unique style which some tried to copy but rarely replicated, his hands were silk, his whip action perfection.

“Pat’s ability and passion were the same whether it was a Windsor seller on a Monday or an important Group 1 at Ascot. Pat was the master tactician whilst everyone else was the Apprentice; the model for all to aspire too. He was ‘the governor’ for a lengthy period of time. A quiet man in the weighing room always immaculately dressed, the quickest man to get changed and beat the traffic after the last race; he even won that contest. Condolences to family and friends from us all in the weighing room past and present. RIP Pat.”

Twitter tributes from fellow jockeys and trainers

Ex-champion jockey AP McCoy @AP_McCoy

Ex-jockey and now trainer Johnny Murtagh @JohnnyMurtagh

Trainer David Pipe @DavidPipeRacing

Ex-jockey mick fitzgerald @mickfitzg

Trainer Brendan Powell @bpowell13

Jockey fergus sweeney @sweens78

Trainer Jeremy Noseda @JeremyNoseda


Check out our comprehensive Horse Racing archive.