Ralph Topps The Bidding!
Truly iconic pieces of sporting memorabilia rarely come on the market, and this week at Doncaster, William Hill Chief Executive, Ralph Topping, managed to secure such a piece - Lester Piggott's saddle, used on his first winning ride.
No jockey made more of an impact on global racing in the 20th Century than Lester Piggott.
More than 5,000 worldwide career wins, the first of nine Epsom Derby wins as an 18 year old in 1954, a total of 30 English Classics, 11 times champion jockey and an unforgettable comeback win on Royal Academy in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Belmont in 1990 are just some of the highlights in a remarkable life in the saddle.
But where it did all begin?
At the age of just twelve, Piggott rode his first winner. This came on The Chase at Haydock on 8th August 1948.
At an auction this week at Doncaster, in aid of the House That Jack Built and the Injured Jockeys Fund, Ralph Topping successfully bid £20,000 to secure this piece of sporting history.
Ralph Topping said afterwards: "Opportunities to secure such an iconic item rarely present themselves, and to secure this saddle in tribute to two great men in Lord Oaksey and Lester Piggott was irresistible. Rest assured, we will not be letting the saddle gather dust in the William Hill boardroom. We will be making every effort to ensure that the racing and sporting public have a chance to see this piece of history."