In honour of the late Pat Eddery, who won the 1975 (Grundy) and 1986 (Dancing Brave) renewals of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Listed Winkfield Stakes, which opens King George Day, has been permanently renamed the Pat Eddery Stakes.
The race will be run as the Wooldridge Group Pat Eddery Stakes, and Pat’s daughters, Natasha and Nichola, along with other members of the family, will present the winners’ trophies alongside the race sponsors.
Natasha Eddery said: “As a family, we all agreed that our fondest, most cherished memories of Dad's incredible racing career were at Ascot Racecourse.
"While Dad had so much success all over the world, Ascot was one of his favourites by far.
"We are all so grateful that Ascot has chosen to honour his legacy on King George day; Dad would be so very proud.”
Pat Eddery was born on March 18, 1952 in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland and forged a reputation as one of the greatest riders of the post-war period.
Champion jockey a joint record 11 times and the winner of every Classic in England and Ireland, Eddery was the leading rider at Royal Ascot on six occasions. Royal Ascot in 1989 proved to be Eddery’s finest as he partnered eight winners (joining Lester Piggott (1965 & 1975) on the record number which was passed by Ryan Moore in 2015) at the Meeting including Two Timing in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, Cacoethes in the King Edward VII Stakes and Assatis in the Hardwicke Stakes.
He was also top jockey at the Meeting in 1993(5), 1992(4), 1988(4), 1986(6) and 1973(4).
In a 1999 newspaper article, Pat Eddery was quoted as saying: “There is nowhere in the world like Royal Ascot. It is the best Meeting of all by a long way. Every day, every race, the best horses are running.”
Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Communications at Ascot, added: “Pat was a legend at Ascot, all over Britain, Ireland and the world.
"We, race sponsors Wooldridge Group, and QIPCO, sponsors of the King George, are deeply honoured that the family have chosen Ascot and King George Day as the place where the racing community and public can remember everything he achieved.
“We are discussing with Natasha and Nichola a permanent memorial to Pat’s achievements, including his six Royal Ascot top jockey titles, and will be looking at all sorts of ways to commemorate Pat’s career on site on King George Day.”
Graham Wooldridge, Managing Director of The Wooldridge Group, said: “We are so pleased that we are able to be involved in honouring Pat Eddery through this race. It is a perfect way to celebrate his life and all that he did for racing.”
David Redvers, on behalf of QIPCO, sponsors of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, said: “Sheikh Fahad and his brothers are delighted that King George day will kick off with a race named in Pat Eddery’s memory.
"Shortly after Pat’s death, we talked to Ascot about how QIPCO, as an Official Partner, would like to help in finding a suitable opportunity to commemorate such a wonderful jockey’s career, so we are touched that the family have chosen King George day and it will make the day even more special and memorable.”
For more information on this year's King George VI Weekend pleaseclick here