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Britain’s First Knighted Jockey Dies

November 10, 1986

KINTBURY, England (AP) _ Sir Gordon Richards, who was the dominant rider in British horseracing for three decades and the only jockey to be knighted, died Monday at his home in this southern England town, relatives said. He was 82.

Richards was champion jockey 26 times and rode more than 4,800 winners in a 35-year career, setting records that were not matched even by Lester Piggott, Britain’s most famous postwar rider.

His 4,870 victories remain the most by a British jockey, and the 269 in 1947 still stand as a yearly record.

He was one of 12 children and began work as an office clerk, but turned to racing and rode his first winner in 1921, when he was 17.

Four years later he won his first jockey championship, and between then and 1953 he missed the title only three times. In 1933 he won 12 consecutive races.

Despite his many victories, he did not win the Derby, Britain’s major race, until his last championship year.

His popular victory on Pinza over the famous Epsom course in 1953 came six days after he was knighted. It was his 28th running in the Derby.

Richards retired as a jockey after a fall in 1956 and became a trainer. He gave up full-time training in 1970.

His wife died four years ago.

Richards was a great favorite of the royal family. He rode Sun Chariot, owned by King George VI, to three Classic victories for the fillies’ triple crown of 1942.

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