Tributes paid to David Thompson, who bought Newmarket's Cheveley Park Stud in 1975 and restored it to its former glory, who has died aged 84
Tributes have been paid to Cheveley Park Stud owner David Thompson, who died on Monday aged 84.
After purchasing Newmarket’s oldest stud, then in receivership, with his wife Patricia, in 1975, Mr Thompson, already a successful businessman, set about restoring it to its former glory.
A proudly patriotic man, the couple’s horses carried red, white and blue racing colours and it wasn’t long before their successes on the race course and as breeders of champions had put their stud firmly back on the world’s thoroughbred map.
That same year Music Boy, trained initially in Yorkshire, became the Thompsons’ first Group winner, in partnership with Ken Mackey, in the Gimcrack Stakes. He became the first stallion to stand for the Thompsons, becoming leading first-season sire in 1980.
The couple soon added to the original 270 acres of land purchased, acquiring the neighbouring Strawberry Hill, Sandwich, Ashley Heath and Warren Hill studs to give them an estate of just less than 1,000 acres.
And there they bred champions like Pivotal who, after a successful racing career, returned to his birthplace where now 28, he still stands as a stallion.
His 32 Group 1 winners around the world include the current French champion sire Siyouni (Fr), as well as Classic winners Sariska, Saoire, and Halfway To Heaven. The couple also bred the 1996 2,000 Guineas winner, Entrepreneur, who was sold as a yearling for 600,000 guineas and raced in the colours of Michael Tabor.
Other group winners to carry the Thompson colours include the Classic-winning fillies Russian Rhythm and Confidential Lady, Group 1 winner and successful stallion, Medicean, Chorist, Nannina, Peeress, Exclusive, and Veracious, their most recent Group 1 winner in the 2019 Falmouth Stakes, while Queen’s Trust provided a memorable Breeders’ Cup win when beating Lady Eli in the filly and mare Turf in 2016.
“David Thompson was a very generous, meticulous, sometimes unpredictable man who always had a certain charm,” said Chris Richardson, the stud’s managing director.
“He inspired everyone with his insatiable enthusiasm for business which, thankfully, included a love of racing and breeding, alongside his wife, Patricia, and their family.”
Sir Michael Stoute, who has trained so many of the Thompsons’ best horses, said: “Those who met David Thompson will never forget him: he was unique. His life was a great success story.”
And current champion trainer John Gosden, who trained Nannina, said: “An extraordinary man whose accomplishments have been a testament to his genius. His business acumen has been unparalleled. With Pat, his wife, their achievements at Cheveley Park and their legendary philanthropic generosity are an example of a magnificent lifetime fulfilled.”
Last year, Mr Thompson and his wife were both made CBEsin recognition of their philanthropy, giving away more than £70 million to charity through the Thompson Family Trust which, in Newmarket, paid for the special sensory wall which is a feature of the newly refurbished memorial hall gardens play area.