Famous for being the first of Lester Piggott’s record nine Derby winners, Never Say Die was the first American-bred colt to win the race since Iroquois in 1881. An average juvenile, with just one victory in six races, he had only extended that winless streak in three starts as a three-year-old. On a dull, chilly day at Epsom, Never Say Die started a 33/1 outsider in a field of twenty-two runners for the Derby. According to some accounts, he would have started at even longer odds if his memorable name and the publicity attracted by his eighteen-year-old jockey Lester Piggott had not made him a popular choice with many members of the public. He won comfortably by two lengths. Never Say Die was bred by the US philanthropist Robert Sterling Clark, who allowed his British trainers, Harry Peacock and Joe Lawson, to toss a coin for first pick of his stock. Peacock won but let Lawson take this horse, a decision that looked sound until the Derby. Piggott was in the hot seat for the horse’s next outing in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot but incurred the wrath of the stewards for some forceful riding en route to finishing fourth and was suspended for the rest of the season. That gave Charlie Smirke the chance to ride Never Say Die in the St Leger at Doncaster, where he produced a stunning effort to win by 12 lengths – the greatest winning margin in the history of the world’s oldest Classic. At the time of his Derby win, the horse stood 15.3 ½ hands high. He was conceived in Ireland but foaled at Jonabell Farm in Kentucky. His sire, Nasrullah had been a talented but temperamental racehorse who was beginning to have an impact as a stallion. Never Say Die's dam, Singing Grass won seven unimportant races in England. Never Say Die was sent by Clark to the National Stud in Newmarket, where he lived for 21 more years and is buried. He sired his own Derby winner in Larkspur in 1962. This framed under glass 1954 colour photograph of Never Say Die features a very young Lester Piggott in the saddle. Taking into consideration the quality of the framing materials and the engraved ivoreen plaque attached this was clearly made for someone of important association with the horse and sport. On the rear of the frame the photographers stamp and signature is still present - Copyright Miles Brothers Horse and Pedigree stock photographers. 51cm x 44cm overall size. £75.00 plus £20.00 postage = £95.00 delivered to U.K. zone 1 addresses. For postage costs to addresses outside U.K. zone 1 and overseas postage please enquire prior to placing your order thank you.
1954 framed colour photograph of Never say die and Lester Piggot