Born on March 18th, 1952, Pat Eddery would definitely feature in anyone's list of top 5 jockeys anywhere.
For me, he was the jockey for the big occasion.
The biggest occasion there has been in racing in the last 20 years was probably the 1986 Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, Paris.
There were 7 Group 1 winning horses in the field & Pat was riding the best of them, Dancing Brave. Failure was not an option and sure enough, he delivered the goods with a great "waiting tactics" ride, the type I consider he was best at.
If you want to witness Pat's acheivements on the great Dancing Brave, why not purchase the video of those moments by clicking on the thumbnail.
He was also brilliant at switching off horses either from the front or the rear of the field. Horses relaxed very well for P.J.Eddery.
Pat was and is an ambassador to the sport and is generally recognised as the jockey who took over from Lester Piggott in the UK.
Away from the racecourse, he is very charming and likes to talk about a wide variety of subjects.
His other sporting passion is tennis and he would welcome a break in the racing calendar during the Wimbledon fortnight to get a chance to watch his favourite players.
He was one of the few jockeys to own his airplane that transported him between meetings in the busy summer schedule in England.
In the winter, apart from taking a well earned break, Pat keeps himself usy working on his stud farm where he breeds a lot of good looking yearlings, often sired by the very horses he won the great races with.
On June 21st, 2002, at Goodwood, Pat rode his 4,494th winner, thereby overtaking Lester Piggott and putting him in 2nd place behind Gordon Richards's UK total of 4,870 wins. Pat had intended to break this record and would have been able to do so by the end of the 2005 season.
In the 2002 season, Pat rode to great effect and was chasing another century of winners all the way past Christmas. He even rode at Southwell to try and acheive the "ton". However it was not to be and he ended up on 99.
This was also the first time that he had finished out of the top 6 riders in more than 30 years in the UK.
In the 2003 season, Pat got off to a good start and rode an amazing race in the Derby on The Great Gatsby, leading from the front, only to be collared
near the line by Kieren Fallon and Kris Kin. At Royal Ascot, although placing quite a lot, he ended up with a blank score sheet.
Then, on June 23rd, 2003, not altogether that unexpected from this armchair, Pat announced that he was to retire at the end of the 2003 season.
He has set up Pat Eddery Racing, a breeding, owning and racing syndicate venture.
He also reminded everyone of his tremendous talent at the Cambridgeshire meeting by conjouring a masterful waiting tactics ride on Landing Light to lift the only great handicap he had never won.....story-tale stuff.
Pat Eddery wins the 2003 Cambridgeshire
For the record, Pat's last ride was on December 7th, 2003, in a jockey's championship in Mauritius, but unfortunatley it was not a winning one.
Six weeks later, he was jiving away at the Jockeys' Association dinner in London where he was given a standing ovation send-off by all his colleagues.
Pat announced that at the start of 2005, he will start up a new career as a trainer......something he had always said he would not do up to now. This change of heart will see him training from his Buckinghamshire stud: starting off with around 20 horses.
Pat Eddery send off at the The 2004 Lesters
I am sure everyone would concur that Pat was a true great and a real ambassador to horse racing.
The essential facts :
Champion in Ireland in 1982
Champion Apprentice UK, 1971
27 Centuries, overtaking Piggott's record of 25 in 1999.
Broke Piggott's record of 465 Group wins in 1999.
1st ride on True Time, The Curragh, on 19.8.1967
1st UK ride on Dido's Dowry, Liverpool, on 30.3.1968
1st winner on Alvaro at Epsom, 24.4.1969
1,000th winner at Epsom on 26.4.1976
2,000th winner on Eastern Mystic, York on 15.5.1986
3,000th winner at Bath on 22.7.1991.
4,000th winner on Silver Patriach in September, 1997.
4,494th winner at Goodwood on June 21st, 2002.
2nd winningmost jockey in the UK after Gordon Richards with 4,632 wins.
1973-1980 P.Walwyn (800+ winners)
1971--71 Champion Apprentice
1982--86 6th & 1st in Ireland
2003---77..18th (4,632 career winners)