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Former owner and raconteur Spencer-Churchill dies aged 76

Teddy Grimthorpe: paid tribute to Lord Charles Spencer-Churchill
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Lord Charles 'Nutty' Spencer-Churchill, whose friendship with Rocco Forte helped secure sponsorship of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe between 1982 and 1996, has died aged 76.

Spencer-Churchill was the brother of the late John Spencer-Churchill, the 11th Duke of Marlborough, and was an owner with Fulke Walwyn for many years.

He was distantly related to Winston Churchill and Princess Diana, while one of his horses was named Black Andrew after cousin Andrew Parker-Bowles.

Black Andrew was, in fact, his best horse, and won three good handicaps in 1975-76 – the Dunkirk, Stone's Ginger Wine and Geoffrey Gilbey Memorial Chases.

He was a well known figure around racecourses and in nearby hotels and restaurants, while his friendships with Forte and Khalid Abdullah ensured a strong connection with the Arc.

Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: "He was a flamboyant chap, the sort who knew everybody, whether it was Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees or the local hotel manager.

"The sponsorship of the Arc came about from his involvement with Rocco Forte," he said. "He made one of the speeches before the first running in that name. He was very good on his hind feet. He could stand up, no notes prepared, and deliver an excellent speech."

Spencer-Churchill married three times and is survived by third wife Sarah Goodbody, daughter of former Thoroughbred Breeders' Association president Michael Goodbody.

His funeral will take place at 11.30am on January 12 at St Mary Magdalene church in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

He was a flamboyant chap, the sort who knew everybody, whether it was Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees or the local hotel manager
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