Sangster, Once Racing's Dominant Owner, Dies

Sangster, Once Racing's Dominant Owner, Dies
Photo: AAP
Robert Sangster, dead at 67.
Robert Sangster, the leading racehorse owner of the 1970s and 1980s, has died at age 67 after a long battle with cancer, according to the London Telegraph.

He dominated the British racing scene from the late 1970s until the emergence of the Maktoum family in the mid-1980s. He was leading British owner in 1977, 1978, 1982, 1983, and 1984, and was for many years the most prominent British-based owner.

Born in Merseyside, England, on May 23, 1936, 67-year-old Sangster inherited the Vernon's football pools company which he sold for £90 million in 1988.

He started out owning racehorses in 1967 when based in the Isle Of Man--a tax haven between Britain and Ireland.

During the 1970s, aided by John Magnier and Vincent O'Brien, plus various investors, he set about buying potential top-class stallions at yearling sales with great success. They owned Coolmore Stud in Ireland and were great supporters of Northern Dancer progeny.

Sadler's Wells, one the greatest ever stallions, was bred by Sangster's Swettenham Stud.

The horses were trained by O'Brien and raced principally in Europe and then sold or stood at Coolmore. They included Golden Fleece, El Gran Senor, Assert, Alleged, Storm Bird, and Caerleon.

He owned the winners of over 100 group/grade I races, including two Epsom Derbys with The Minstrel in 1977 and Golden Fleece in 1982, both trained by O'Brien.

Sangster and O'Brien hold the world record price for a yearling after buying Seattle Dancer for $13.1 million at the 1985 Keeneland July sale.

In 1984, Sangster purchased the 2,300-acre Manton estate in Britain and installed Michael Dickinson as his trainer. That partnership failed to work out but his son-in-law Peter Chapple-Hyam and John Gosden, the present trainer, have trained there since.

After exiting from Coolmore, he concentrated on homebred horses, often selling on those who proved themselves on the racecourse. His broodmares are divided between Europe, North America, and Australia.

Sangster, a well-known socialite, helped develop the now common practice of stallion shuttling between the Northern & Southern hemispheres.

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