Sangster Bloodstock Empire Being Sold; Heirs to Restructure Interests

The children of the late Robert Sangster recently announced plans to sell the international bloodstock empire that he established.

The Sangster family recently announced that its worldwide bloodstock empire, Swettenham Stud, will be sold.

The company's breeding stock of about 250 horses will be dispersed at public auction in this country, England, Ireland, and Australia during the next 10 months. Sangster, whose famous emerald green, blue, and white colors were carried by such stars as Sadler’s Wells, Alleged, The Minstrel, Golden Fleece, Detroit, Storm Bird, El Gran Senor and Rodrigo De Triano, revolutionized the breeding industry in the 1970s and 1980s.

Swettenham Stud was established by Robert Sangster, who died three years ago.  Since that time, the company has continued to operate under the management of his sons Guy, Ben, and Adam Sangster.  They and his three other children have "decided to restructure their bloodstock interests," according to a prepared statement.

The Vernons soccer pools heir, a five-time champion owner in Britain, moved into the breeding industry with the purchase of the original Swettenham Stud in Cheshire, England, in the 1960s and established himself as a leading international owner and breeder. He emerged as a big-hitter at the yearling sales on both sides of the Atlantic and was involved in tense bidding wars with the Maktoum family during the 1980s that saw him pay a then world-record price of $13.1 million for Seattle Dancer at the 1985 Keeneland July select yearling auction.

Sangster's purchase of American-bred yearlings helped establish Coolmore and Ireland as major forces in the bloodstock world. Along with Coolmore associate John Magnier and the great Irish trainer Vincent O’Brien, Sangster effectively treated the industry as a commodity market, identifying "baby" stallions at the yearling sales and then using the racetrack to boost the value of his horses, many of whom were sons of the great Northern Dancer.

Sangster was among the first to recognize the vast potential of racing and breeding in Australia, where he developed substantial interests and won the Melbourne Cup (Aust-I) in 1980 with Beldale Ball. With his Australian counterpart, Colin Hayes, Sangster pioneered the shuttling of stallions from Britain and Ireland to the Southern Hemisphere in the 1970s, and together they established Collingrove Stud, renamed Swettenham Stud in 2005.

Ben and Guy Sangster currently manage Swettenham’s Northern Hemisphere operation from the family’s Manton estate in Wiltshire, England, which will be retained. Adam Sangster runs the Australian operation at Swettenham Stud.

Ben and Adam Sangster intend to increase their individual bloodstock interests, and the Sangster colors will continue to be carried on racetracks around the globe.

Indeed, a further statement on Swettenham Stud’s Australian Internet site announced that "Adam Sangster has taken full ownership of Swettenham Stud Australia to ensure further development of the Nagambie (Victoria) and Hunter Valley (New South Wales) stud businesses. This latest move has galvanized Adam’s commitment to the breeding industry in Australia.

"Swettenham Stud UK will relinquish their bloodstock interests in unreserved sales in 2008. Swettenham Stud UK have been great supporters of the racing and breeding industries in Australia and enjoyed outstanding success.

"Swettenham Stud Australia’s Adam Sangster looks forward to the challenge of filling the void."