Raceform founder and doyen of racing publishing Ian de Wesselow dies at 86
Ian de Wesselow, who built Raceform into a key player in the world of racing publishing over a 40-year period and launched the careers of many journalists, has died peacefully at the age of 86.
De Wesselow, who had worked at The Times selling advertising after completing National Service, took over the printing and publishing businesses in 1960 after the death of his father Roger, who founded Raceform in the 1930s and whose annual publications immediately set new standards for form-books.
He published The British Racehorse and a variety of weekly newspapers including the Racing Pink and The Winner, which at one time had a circulation of 90,000, and developed the Raceform and Chaseform titles, in association with Weatherbys and the Sporting Chronicle, and regarded as the official form books.
De Wesselow sold Raceform to the Trinity Mirror group in 1999.
At The Racehorse he employed the talents of some of the foremost racing writers of the time, including Sir Peter O'Sullevan, Roger Mortimer and Michael Seely, while among the youthful talent he developed at Raceform were future journalists Alastair Down, Steve Dennis, John Randall, Henry Rix, Jack Millan and Tony Stafford.
Together with Sue Abbott he co-owned several horses trained by John Dunlop and later by Dunlop's son Harry.
De Wesselow's son James said yesterday of his father: "Although suffering from Parkinson's for several years he was wonderfully supported by his devoted wife Lene, who encouraged and enabled him to lead a full life right up to the last few days. Indeed, he attended and enjoyed the Henley Literary Festival two days before his death on Friday.
"He will be dearly missed by his wife, sister Julie, my brothers Mark, Peter and myself, his many stepchildren and grandchildren and other family and friends.
"He always felt blessed to be able to combine his work with his great passion, horseracing, and he was never happier than on a racecourse with his old binoculars and form book under his arm."
De Wesselow's funeral will be private but a thanksgiving service will take place at a date yet to be arranged in November.