Alan Potts, 80, Passes Away

Jessica Harrington led the tributes to Alan Potts after the leading National Hunt owner died at the age of 80. Potts was one of the powerhouse names in jumps racing and was responsible for Sizing John (GB) (Midnight Legend {GB}), who won the G1 Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Potts’s wife, Ann, also died in August after a long illness.

Harrington, who trains Sizing John and the bulk of the Potts horses in Ireland, said “It’s a big shock. It wasn’t something we were expecting. I found out through an email from his company this morning. He was a certain age, but he’d just been away on holiday to Mauritius and Africa and come back. I’d talked to him a couple of times and he seemed to be in great form. For him to die so soon after his wife–it’s sad. I’ve only trained for him for just over a year but we’ve been incredibly lucky together. It was a fantastic year.”

Alan and Ann Potts enjoyed an incredible 2016-17 campaign, as the Harrington-trained Supasundae (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) also won the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, while Fox Norton (Fr) (Lando {Ger}), Sizing Codelco (Ire) (Flemensfirth) and Pingshou (Ire) (Definite Article {GB}) were all scorers at the Grand National meeting at Aintree in April.

The couple first came to prominence within National Hunt racing after their distinctive yellow and green silks were worn by the Henry de Bromhead-trained Sizing Europe (Ire) (Pistolet Bleu {Ire}), who claimed eight Grade 1 triumphs in a magnificent career. In 2016, the Potts family removed all of their horses from de Bromhead’s yard, sending many of them to several trainers across Ireland.

Dorset trainer Colin Tizzard was also one of the trainers to inherit a sizeable string, with a number of the Potts horses in line to run at the big three-day meeting at Cheltenham this weekend.

Tizzard said, “He was a self-made man. He could be quite demanding but he could be absolutely brilliant company–that was the sort of person he was. He made a lot of money from scratch and he definitely brought our stable a few gears forward and he will be sadly missed. I think going over to Punchestown and winning the Champion Chase with Fox Norton was brilliant along with Sizing Granite and Sizing Codelco winning there. Going to Ireland and beating the Irish there was special. I am not quite sure [what will happen] about the horses. I think it will be sorted soon and we will then find out what will happen.”

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