Tracy Piggott continuing proud family Cheltenham tradition with Our Duke
Tracy Piggott, daughter of legendary jockey Lester, is best known for her broadcasting work with RTE, but as Our Duke's work-rider she is occupying a very different role in her first visit to the Cheltenham Festival for more than 20 years. Here she talks about the big day
I haven't been at the Cheltenham Festival since 1994 when I did work with the BBC. It's lovely to be back.
My grandfather rode more than 20 winners at the festival through the years and daddy won the Triumph in 1958 when it was the first race of the meeting.
I've gone back through our family tree and, believe it or not, the Piggotts have been racing since 1627, most of which was over jumps.
It's in my blood and to be riding out in the mornings has been very special. It really is the most amazing racecourse and you feel a part of history when you're here.
I've built up quite a bond with him since and I've become friendly with the Cooper family, who own and bred him; so much so that I even go and visit the horse on their farm when he's on his summer holidays.
I enjoyed some brilliant days when daddy was riding in some of the world's greatest races, but seeing Our Duke win last season's Irish Grand National was the best day in racing for me.
He didn't hit the ground running this season but we know he's back to himself and is one of the favourites for the Gold Cup.
I've been like a child riding out here all week and I get very nervous before the races, but I decided to let Robert [Power] ride Our Duke this week because I'd never live it down if anything had happened as he was rather fresh!
I hope he can run well but he's become very dear to my heart and I'll just be happy if he comes home safe and sound.
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