TRACY PIGGOTT developed a passion for horseracing at a young age. This is no surprise when you consider that her father, Lester Piggott, was awarded the title of champion jockey 11 times.
After leaving school, she travelled to America and spent three years working with horses as a “galloper” in Florida and Kentucky. New York and Los Angeles for many of the leading trainers. When Piggott returned home to England, she worked at her mother’s bloodstock insurance firm buying and selling horses.
In 1986, she came to Ireland and spent two years as an assistant to the trainer Tommy Stack.
Piggott’s broadcasting career began in 1988, after she won the Ladies’ Race in Leopardstown. Tim O’Connor, the head of RTE Sport, asked her to audition as a racing commentator and was impressed by her skills as a raconteur. Her first live programme was in June 1989 at the Derby weekend at the Curragh.
Over the following four years, she presented RTE’s Sports Stadium while also working for the BBC. Piggott has anchored two Olympics for RTE: Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.
Piggott also presents rugby, greyhound racing and showjumping for the national broadcaster. She also fronts the weekly Greyhound View programme on TG4 and Sky Sports.
Her skills are not restricted to horseracing and presenting. In July 1998, she swam across Galway Bay, a distance of nine miles, in seven and a half hours. She covered the entire distance underwater and raised IR£170,000 (about €216,000) for the John Durcan Leukaemia Trust. In 2000, Piggott cycled coast to coast across America with Sean Kelly, the president of the Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA), to raise money for the National Council for the Blind.
Piggott’s greatest passion in life is her charity, Playing for Life, which aims to help communities in Africa by creating an educational series of games, focusing on health, self-respect, friendship, social integration, participation and team skills. The charity involves the local community in the building of multipurpose facilities, sharing skills, empowering others and improving self-sufficiency.
Tracy has taught Tibetan yoga,is a qualified Pilates instructor and holistic masseuse ,and enjoys cycling, both competitively and endurance. In 2000 she and 28 others including leader Sean Kelly, cycled an average of 130 miles a day to cover 2,875 miles coast to coast from San Diego to Charleston South Carolina USA in 25 days for the national Council for the blind.
She is a member of the Irish Sports Council, a government appointment and has a passion for all sport, particularly encouraging more people to participate.
Tracy’s natural rapport and sense of humour has made her a very popular after dinner and motivational speaker. Her relaxed and personal style translates to every audience, be it a senior management conference or sports evening. Some of the organistation that Tracy has addressed included ILAM, National Womens Day, Cork Sports Awards, Wexford Sports Award.