The racing world was hit another tragic blow last week with the death of leading owner-breeder Robert Sangster, who died in his London home after a lengthy battle with cancer, aged 67.
During the 1980s, with the help of Coolmore’s Vincent O’Brien and John Magnier, Sangster visited all the major sales rings around the world buying potential top-class stallions. The youngsters were then trained by O’Brien, raced mainly in Europe and were subsequently retired to stud at Coolmore or sold.
In addition to his involvement at Coolmore, Sangster had established his own breeding operation in England, at the 2,000 acre Swettenham Stud in Wiltshire. He sponsored races at Newbury for more than 10 years under the Swettenham Stud banner and also ran the Collingrove Stud in New South Wales, Australia.
He was a great supporter of progeny of the legendary Northern Dancer, and bought up much of his stock in the 1970s. One of these was Minstrel, who in 1977 went on to win the Epsom Derby, the Irish Derby, the King George VI and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, propelling Sangster into the limelight and establishing him as Britain’s leading owner-breeder.
As well as his invaluable contribution to racing and breeding, and the legacy of visionary brilliance he leaves behind him, Sangster will be remembered for his trusting confidence, his sense of humour and his dazzling storytelling skills. Connections throughout the racing world have been effusive in their tributes to the peerless owner.
Sangster is survived by his four sons: Ben, Adam, Guy and Max.