Shock as Gold Cup winning owner Potts dies suddenly
Jessica Harrington led the tributes to Alan Potts after the leading National Hunt owner died at the age of 80.
Potts was one of the powerhouse names in jumps racing and was responsible for Sizing John, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Potts' wife Ann died in August after a long illness.
Harrington, who trains Sizing John and the bulk of the Potts horses in Ireland, said: "It's a big shock. It wasn't something we were expecting. I found out through an email from his company this morning.
"He was a certain age but he'd just been away on holiday to Mauritius and Africa. I talked to him a couple of times and he seemed to be in great form.
"For him to die so soon after his wife, it's sad.
"I've only trained for him for just over a year but we've been incredibly lucky together. It was a fantastic year."
Tom O'Brien rode the Potts-owned, and Tizzard-trained, Finian's Oscar to victory in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in January.
He said: "My condolences to all his family. I'm very grateful to have ridden for him and to have ridden a Grade One winner in his colours. It is a very sad day and I'm thinking of his family.
"I only met Alan a few times at Cheltenham. Unfortunately I didn't get to know him well.
"He was a competitive man and always wanted to be the best."