Former Cheltenham chairman Lord Vestey dies aged 79

Former Cheltenham racecourse chairman Lord Vestey has died at the age of 79.

Vestey – whose wife Celia, the sister of Gold Cup-winning trainer Henrietta Knight, died last year, aged 71 – had a long and famous association with the sport.

His blue silks were well known, and he enjoyed success as an owner both over jumps and on the Flat.

Jamie Osborne, now a successful trainer, was on board when the Knight-trained Karshi delivered what was perhaps Vestey’s favourite day at his favourite track.

Owned and bred by Vestey himself, he won the 1997 Stayers’ Hurdle at 20-1.

“Both Lord and Lady Vestey were an absolute pleasure to have anything to do with,” said Osborne.

Lord Vestey played a pivotal role at Cheltenham in his time as racecourse chairman
Lord Vestey played a pivotal role at Cheltenham in his time as racecourse chairman (David Davies/PA)

“They were wonderful people to ride for and wonderful people to be around.

“It’s a very sad day, and my thoughts go out to his family. He was a wonderful man.”

Paying his tribute, Ian Renton, regional managing director for Cheltenham’s owners, Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “We are very saddened to hear of the passing of friend and former Cheltenham chairman, Lord Vestey.

“He was a true gentleman and genuinely lovely man who did so much for our sport, and played a huge role in creating the Cheltenham racecourse that we know today.

“He will be sorely missed by us all at The Jockey Club, and our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

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