A STATUE of racing legend Lester Piggott will be unveiled at York Racecourse on the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival next week.

The life size bronze, by sculptor William Newton, will be set in front of the Edwardian Weighing Room; the base for his rides on great horses such as Dahlia and Rodrigo de Triano.

The statue was commissioned by David and Christopher St George for whose family Piggott rode many top-class horses including dual Gold Cup at Royal Ascot winner Ardross,

Racecourse spokesman James Brennan said that although Lester was born in Wantage, the Piggott family traced their roots back to the north and the eleven time champion jockey often described York as his favourite track.

"It was also a successful venue for the man often known as “the Long Fellow”; with five victories in the Group One Juddmonte International, four in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks and seven in the fastest race of the season, the Coolmore Nunthorpe," said Mr Brennan.

"With the man himself due to be in attendance, it will be a pleasant duty for York Racecourse Chairman, Lord Grimthorpe, to unveil the statue," he added.