Racehorse owner knighted for his charity work dies aged 86

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  • The Yorkshire racehorse owner, businessman and philanthropist Sir Robert Ogden died on 6 March, aged 86.

    Born in Bradford, Sir Robert founded the Ogden Group in the late 1950s with his three brothers, working in quarrying, building and mining.
    He became interested in racing through his friend and former racehorse trainer Jack Hanson. The pair later co-owned horses together, including Sir Robert’s first major winner Winter Melody, who took the 1978 Imperial Cup.

    Sir Robert’s racing and breeding operation at Sicklinghall Stud, founded in the late 1970s, expanded, and in 1997 he was crowned National Hunt champion owner, a success he repeated in 2000 and 2001.

    Among his most successful horses were the 2007 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Voy Por Ustedes, trained by Alan King, the 2007 Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Exotic Dancer trained by Jonjo O’Neill and the Nicky Henderson-trained Marlborough, who gave Sir Robert his first Cheltenham Festival winner, in 2000.

    He later switched his interests to the Flat. His winners included 2010 Irish St Leger victor Sans Frontieres, trained by Jeremy Noseda, and his home-bred multiple Group One winner Amazing Maria, trained by David O’Meara.

    Sir Robert was known for his generous work in charity, for which he was knighted in 2001. He supported Macmillan Cancer Support for more than 50 years, and played a leading role in transforming cancer care in Yorkshire. In 2000, the Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre opened in Leeds, followed by a centre in Harrogate in 2014 and Northallerton in 2018.

    He is survived by his second wife Lady Ana Ogden, his two sons Adam and Robert Alan from his first marriage and four grandchildren.

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