Ascot has announced the opening race on King George day, known since 2006 as the Winkfield Stakes, has been permanently renamed in honour of the late champion jockey Pat Eddery.
The race will be run as the Wooldridge Group Pat Eddery Stakes and Eddery’s daughters, Natasha and Nicola, along with other members of the family, will present the winner’s 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.”
Nick Smith, director of racing and communications at Ascot, added: “Pat was a legend at Ascot, all over Britain, Ireland and the world. We 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 Nicola 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.”
Eddery, who died in November at the age of 63, was the winning rider in two of the most famous renewals of the King George, latterly Dancing Brave in 1986 and before that on Grundy in arguably the most famous renewal of all in 1975.
Champion jockey 11 times, Eddery had jointly held the record for most wins at a single Royal Ascot, his eight winners in 1989 eclipsed last year by Ryan Moore.
Though inaugurated only in 2006, as the Winkfield Stakes the race now named in Eddery’s honour boasts a strong roll of honour, with Raven’s Pass, Toronado and Kodi Bear among its winners.