Piers Henry George Bengough was born in London on 24th May 1929. His father, Wing Commander Nigel James Bengough, served in the Flying Corps in the First World War. Piers was educated at Eton College and, at 19, served in The 10th Royal Hussars, the Prince of Wales own. He served for 25 years from 1948 until 1973, and later became an Honorary Colonel in 1983. Much of his Army career was spent in Germany, but he still managed to train racehorses whilst abroad, producing winners in Dortmund, Dusseldorf and Hanover.

In 1952 he married Bridget Adams, a former figure skater who won the International Figure Skating Championships in 1949, and they had 2 sons. She was the daughter of Dr F S Adams and they married on 21st June 1952. Their two sons are Andrew Nigel Crosbie Bengough and Jonathan Fiennes Bengough.

Piers was a noted amateur rider and rode 30 winners during his illustrious career. He contested the Grand National four times in total, firstly in 1958 when he fell at the third fence aboard Go Well. In 1965 his good mare, April Rose, finished third in the Grand Military Gold Cup before finishing eleventh of 14 finishers in the Grand National. He contested each of the next two Grand Nationals aboard April Rose, but failed to complete on each occasion.

Piers amateur riding days began when riding out for trainer Alan Kilpatrick. He rode Eastern Chance in the Grand Military Gold Cup but the horse did not stay. This was to prove to be invaluable experience which he put to good use in 1960 when he rode his own horse, Joan’s Rival, to victory in the Grand Military. In 1970 he began a spectacular association with Charles Dickens when winning the Grand Military Gold Cup for the second time, and for each of the next two years, aboard the same horse, he captured the Gold Cup again.

In 1965 he was elected a member of the Jockey Club and became Chairman of the disciplinary committee from 1990 until 1992. In 1973 he received the OBE and in 1986 he became a KCVO, Knight Commander, Royal Victorian Order. As well as a talented amateur jockey he was a successful owner on the Flat. His most spectacular success, and the one he probably enjoyed most, was when Cabochon won the Ascot Stakes in 1991.

When he retired from the Army in 1973 he set up a stud farm in Herefordshire. He became Deputy Lieutenant for Hereford and Worcester on 29th June 1987, and High Sherriff of Herefordshire in 2002. He was a Jockey Club Steward from 1974 to 1977, and a Director of the Cheltenham Steeplechase Company from 1977 until 1990. He was also a Director of both Hereford Racecourse from 1974 until 2001, and Ludlow Racecourse from 1979.

In 1982 he was appointed Her Majesty’s Representative at Royal Ascot in the Royal Household. He replaced the Marquess of Abergavenny in 1982 and was responsible for organising race days at Ascot for the next 15 years. Sir Piers was conscientious and hard-working, relishing his job at Ascot, but he also regarded it as a privilege and great honour. Indeed it was he who helped to establish the Festival of British Racing at Ascot, a meeting which was held each September and can be compared favourably to the Breeders Cup meeting in America. Had he been alive he would have been delighted by the size of the crowd at Ascot to see wonder horse Frankel in his final race in the Champion Stakes. Frankel defeated his 6 rivals with relative ease, winning by 1 3/4 lengths from the French trained Cirrus des Aigles.

He died at Leominster on 18th April 2005 aged 75.

A memorial service to celebrate his life and work was held at Hereford Cathedral on Friday 13th May 2005 when The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were represented by the Duke of Devonshire.