Rory MacDonald former chief executive of Newmarket’s British Racing School and recognised as the driving force behind its transformation to a world renowned centre of excellence, has died suddenly at the age of 66.
Mr MacDonald, was at the school’s helm for 22 years and his work was recognised with an OBE in 2007. He died on Monday and had lived in Wrockwardine in Shropshire since his retirement from the Snailwell Road school last September.
Duncan Gregory, the school’s operations director said “Everyone is devastated. Rory built the racing school from a fairly modest set-up to a centre of excellence of international repute.
“He built an awful lot here, he did a huge amount to develop the standing of the school and he was synonymous with it. He did so much and never for selfish reasons.”
Nick Rust, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Rory MacDonald. He worked tirelessly for 22 years as chief executive of the British Racing School.
“Throughout his remarkable tenure at the school he gave so many young people a start in racing, for which we should all be extremely thankful. He was well-respected by the BRS pupils and amongst the training fraternity and will be sorely missed by the racing industry more widely. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.” Those paying tribute on Twitter included former Grand National winning jockey Brendan Powell who said: ”Sad to hear of the passing of Rory McDonald. Helped so many Lads, trainers and jockeys. A gentleman. RIP.”