Alan Potts, owner of Gold Cup winner Sizing John, dies aged 80
Alan Potts, whose red, green and yellow colours have been among the most familiar in National Hunt racing over the past dozen seasons, died yesterday at the age of 80, three months after the death of his wife, Ann, with whom he co-owned Sizing John, the winner of the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.
Potts, an engineer who grew up in Yorkshire, refined a key process in the mining industry known as sizing and made a fortune after setting up his own company, MMD, 40 years ago, selling machinery to carry out the procedure to mine operators around the world.
Along with his late wife, Potts started to invest heavily in National Hunt racing in 2005, with many of his early recruits bearing names such as Sizing Europe and Sizing Australia to reflect the owners’ business interests.
Until the 2016-17 season, Potts’s runners were trained almost exclusively in Ireland by Henry de Bromhead, who saddled Sizing Europe to win eight Grade One events including the Irish Champion Hurdle in 2008, the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in 2010 and the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the same meeting 12 months later. Sizing Australia also recorded a Cheltenham Festival success in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Handicap Chase in 2011.
In August 2016, however, the Potts string left De Bromhead’s stable, with Sizing John moving to Jessica Harrington’s yard and more than a dozen horses moving across the Irish Sea to join Colin Tizzard. The Potts colours enjoyed a series of big-race wins at the spring festival meetings in 2017, as Sizing John completed a unique treble with victories in the Gold Cups at Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown, while Finian’s Oscar and Fox Norton took Grade One events for the Tizzard stable at the Grand National meeting in April.
horribly sad news,” Joe Tizzard, Colin’s son and assistant, said yesterday. “We’d got to know Alan and his family very well in the last 12 months and we had some very special times, especially at Aintree and Punchestown last year. All our thoughts are with his family.”
The Potts’s daughter, Julie, regularly accompanied her parents to the races. It is unclear at present whether her late father’s horses will continue to run as planned over the coming days and weeks, though one report yesterday suggested that all of the owner’s horses are expected to remain in training.
point to hold and take the first set in 51