Paul Barber, the prolific racehorse owner and long-time supporter of the sport died on 18 June, aged 80.
Mr Barber came from a dairy farming family, based at Manor Farm, in Ditcheat, Somerset.
He had a passion for racing from a young age. In October 1991 trainer Paul Nicholls became based at Mr Barber’s yard, and this business arrangement soon became a great friendship. Mr Barber bought See More Indians for Paul, who Paul described as his first “really good horse”, and who became his first Grade One winner.
Mr Barber was known for his early dream of wanting to “milk 1,000 cows and own a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner”. He achieved this with the 1999 Gold Cup victor See More Business, co-owned with John Keighley, who also won the King George VI Chase in 1997 and 1999. Mr Barber went on to have 3,000 cows on his farm.
Mr Barber’s second Gold Cup win came from the great Denman, who beat Kauto Star to victory in 2008. Denman, co-owned with Maggie Findlay, held a record of 14 wins and six seconds from his 24 runs, before his retirement in 2011. Mr Barber was also the co-owner of Clan Des Obeaux, with Ged Mason and Alex Ferguson. Among Clan Des Obeaux’s victories were the King George VI Chase, in 2018 and 2019, and the 2021 Punchestown Gold Cup.
Paul said that from the start Mr Barber took him “under his wing” and “in some ways treated me like a son”.
“I certainly saw him as something of a father figure. He taught me so much about running a business, especially in the early years,” said Paul.
“Every big day he shared with me, every big winner he shared with me as if it was his own. He deserved all the success he had because he was such a tremendous enthusiast and put so much into racing and life.”
Mr Barber is survived by his wife Marianne, and children Chris and Giles with his first wife Paula.
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