Alan Potts, owner of Gold Cup win­ner Siz­ing John, dies aged 80

The Guardian - Sport - - Rugby Union - Greg Wood

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

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