Poignant Ahoy Senor date after Peter Russell’s death at 95


Poignant Ahoy Senor date after Peter Russell’s death at 95.

Peter Russell, the “hugely supportive” father of Lucinda Russell, the trainer who won the Grand National, has passed away at the age of 95.

He owned Ahoy Senor in part, and the dual Grade 1 winner will still compete in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase on Saturday at Cheltenham.

“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.”

After graduating from Cambridge with a degree in accounting, Peter Russell took over the family whisky-broking business after his father’s death in 1956. He grew it until Ian Macleod Distillers became the tenth largest Scotch whisky company, selling more than 15 million bottles of spirits annually.

“He was very pioneering,” Lucinda Russell said. “The whisky 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.”

Since his daughter obtained a full license in 1995, Peter Russell has owned whole or part shares in the Arlary House stable, which is located on his own land in Kinross, which is about an hour north of Edinburgh.

“He got into racing totally because of me, he was a very supportive father,” Lucinda 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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