Sporting history was thrust upon us on this day in 1954 when jockeying icon Lester Piggott won the first of his record-breaking nine Derby victories. On a grim, chilly day at Epsom, the 18 year-old ‘boy wonder of the turf’ romped home on the 33/1 outsider Never Say Die, who never did say die throughout the rest of his racing career. In fact there are no reports of him saying anything, mainly because he was a horse.
Never Say Die (Or ‘Die-y’ to his friends) became the first American colt to win the prestigious race in its seventy-three year history. And it was the start of Piggot’s glittering flat racing career. As well as winning the Derby more times than anyone else (certainly more times than Canadian snooker player ‘Big’ Bill Werbeniuk) he also triumphed in the St Leger, 2000 Guineas, the Ascot Gold Cup, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the Irish Derby multiple times. All of this despite being ‘quite tall’ for a jockey.