John Guest, longtime owner with trainers George Margarson and Mick Channon and a sponsor at Ascot, has died at the age of 83, suddenly on Saturday.
His death stunned his family and both Margarson and Channon as he had no long term health problems.
Margarson stated, "It was very unexpected even though he was 83 years old. He was with us at Royal Ascot when Imperial Guest finished third and he was in good form. He had had no long term health problems so it was quite a shock."
He also said, "I've known him for a long time and he was a fantastic supporter of not only us but also racing. The family have been good supporters of mine and I said to his sons did they want me to withdraw Magical Speedfit from Windsor as a mark of respect but they said 'no he would not have wanted that, he would have wanted life to carry on'."
Leaving school at the age of 14 Guest worked hard to create successful business, which grew to have more than 1,000 employees in the UK and become one of the top pipe and plastic plumbing systems manufacturers worldwide.
Numerous horses of his included the Speedfit title connected with his enterprise, but his top performer was Barathea Guest, who was victorious in the Greenham in 2000, subsequently being disqualified after coming in first in the prior season's Group 1 Grand Criterium at Longchamp. He currently had six runners in training with Margarson and two others with Channon.
Channon said, "It is very sad. He was such a lovely man, he was enthusiastic and loved his racing and was a sponsor at Ascot for several years. He loved Ascot, he loved racing and our thoughts are with the rest of the family."
Guest is survived by three sons, Robert, Barry and Tim, one granddaughter and five grandsons, including Tom Guest, rugby union player for the Harlequins.
The funeral will be held next Tuesday at Bray Church in Berkshire and is for just family and friends. Donations can be given to Help For Heroes and the British Heart Foundation.