Poignant Cheltenham date for Ahoy Senor after Peter Russell dies at 95 | horse racing news

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Peter Russell: “He was very emotional but he never let emotion stop progress.”

By David Carr

Peter Russell, the “hugely supportive” father of Grand National-winning trainer Lucinda Russell, has died at the age of 95.

The part-owned Ahoy Senor and the dual Grade 1 winner is still set to take his chance in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

“He died on Monday, exactly 64 years after he and mum got married,” his daughter said on Wednesday. “But he was so excited about Ahoy Senor and the horse will run on Saturday.

“Dad was one of those who’d say if something happens, life goes on. He never dwelt on something. He was very emotional but he never let emotion stop progress.”

Peter Russell, who went on from Cambridge to qualify as an accountant, took control of the family whiskey-broking business on the death of his father in 1956 and built it up so that Ian Macleod Distillers became the tenth largest Scotch whiskey company, selling over 15 million bottles of spirits every year.

“He was very pioneering,” said Lucinda Russell. “The whiskey trade was very insular, full of old-fashioned family businesses, and his big breakthrough was selling to the supermarkets. He had great integrity and companies would all deal with him.”

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

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Ahoy Senor: Peter Russell was a part-owner of the top chaser

Ahoy Senor: Peter Russell was a part-owner of the top chaser

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

Peter Russell financed his daughter’s Arlary House stable on his own land in Kinross, half an hour north of Edinburgh, and has had whole or part shares since she took out a full license in 1995.

“He got into racing totally because of me, he was a very supportive father,” Russell said. “When I was eventing he got into that and when I started in racing he got into that.

“He had point-to-pointers and he probably enjoyed that more than the racing. He’d park where everyone had to walk past him. He’d take a picnic of some bacon rolls and two bottles of gin, with tonic and lemons. , and everyone would have a drink with him.

“In pointing and racing he loved helping the young kids and giving them their first rides – he gave Craig Nichol, Grant Cockburn, Rachel McDonald and many others their first win and that meant a lot to him.”

Peter Russell also supported Scottish racing as a sponsor and his daughter said: “He sponsored at tracks that he liked – he adored Richard Langdale at Kelso and Sam Morshead at Perth and he sponsored at both.

“He changed the nature of sponsorship as he always wanted a box so he could entertain his friends but if people were loyal to him, he’d support them through thick and thin.”


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