LEADING racehorse owner Alan Potts has died.
The 80-year-old from Yorkshire made a major impression in jump racing since becoming involved in ownership in 2005.
Trainer Henry de Bromhead was his first trainer and found Sizing Europe for him. The horse went on to win the Irish Champion Hurdle, the Arkle Trophy and Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Trainer and owner shared many other winners, including a Cheltenham cross-country title with Sizing Australia, but went their separate ways in the autumn of 2016 when Potts divided his horses between a number of trainers, mainly Jessica Harrington in Ireland and Colin Tizzard in England.
The new alliance with Harrington yielded immediate dividends when Sizing John, stepped up to three miles, won Gold Cups at Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown.
Meanwhile, Tizzard sent out Fox Norton and Finian's Oscar to win at the highest level for Potts.
Despite winning what many consider to be the most important jumps race in the calendar, Potts continued to invest in new talent. In April he spent £300,000 on point-to-point winner Madison To Monroe.
In August Ann Potts died following a long illness but her husband appeared to retain his interest in racing. Robert Power was confirmed as his retained rider in Ireland and, just weeks ago, Bryan Cooper was appointed as his main British jockey.
The Irish Field understands that Alan Potts' office informed trainers on Tuesday that all of the owner's horses will remain in training. The Potts' daughter Julie often accompanied her parents to the races.
Born in Great Houghton, South Yorkshire, Alan Potts started working at the age of 15 as a sweeper-up in the pit-fitting shop at Houghton Main Colliery.
He quickly progressed on the National Coal Board’s apprenticeship and management schemes, meaning that by age of 40 he was area mechanical engineer with 14 mines under his supervision, and inventing machinery as he went along.
He established the Derbyshire-based MMD Group in 1978 after the NCB asked him for a way to prevent large lumps of coal blocking conveyor belts.
Potts came up with a sizing machine that became the standard for all UK pits. Since then, MMD has branched out into increasingly sophisticated mining and quarrying equipment worldwide.
MORE ON THIS STORY IN THE IRISH FIELD NEXT WEEKEND