Pat Eddery Obituary – Former Champion Jockey
Writing a “brief” summary of the riding career of Patrick James John Eddery (to give him his full name), who passed away yesterday at the far too young age of 63, was never going to be an easy task, with so many accolades and titles, plus a million happy memories. Pat Eddery won the flat jockeys title an astonishing eleven times, some record in itself, but we need to add that he rode in a time of the true greats – Willie Carson, Steve Cauthen, Lester Piggott, Joe Mercer and so on – his titles were never handed to him on a plate, and his race record speaks for itself.
Fourteen classics and a total of 4632 winners, second only to Sir Gordon Richards, is not to be sniffed at, and we all have our Pat stories to talk about with a smile. The one everybody remembers the most is his 1986 Arc win (the third of four) on Dancing Brave which has to be seen to be believed, swooping fast and late to mug perhaps the strongest middle distance field ever assembled in Europe, though his true strength was a will to win that saw him try just as hard in a lowly seller as he did in a classic – as long as his ride had a chance, of course.
As a jockey, Pat was a natural and there were few better sights than him, sat motionless on a class horse, waiting to pounce when he let out an inch of rein to win the race as he pleased, but he was also a whirling dervish in a finish when needed, though we aren’t so sure how his style would fit in with the current guidelines.
After retiring from the saddle in 2003 he took up training in 2005 but never really had the success we all hoped for (if you haven’t got the horses, what can you do?), with 28 winners in the last five years, but he was still as modest and unassuming as always, shunning the limelight but still socialising with the racing community on occasion. Likeable, supremely talented, and a one off, those who love their racing will never forget Pat Eddery, a true legend who will most certainly be missed, but never forgotten – RIP.
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