Footballers who own racehorses
With the Cheltenham Festival and its showpiece race the Cheltenham Gold Cup fast-approaching, you can expect to see plenty of familiar faces from the world of football in the crowd to enjoy the hospitality and perhaps have a bit of a flutter.
Plenty of players and managers will no doubt already be studying the form guide and list of runners for the Cheltenham races 2018 courtesy of William Hill to start plotting who they will be backing between Tuesday, March 13, and Friday, March 16. Here are some of the footballers who, whether they attend the racecourse or not, will probably be paying close attention because they own racehorses.
The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United striker owns not only racehorses, but an entire stables. As such he has owned many horses as Owen Promotions Ltd, but by far his biggest success to date came when his nag Brown Panther won the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot back in 2011.
The Peruvian veteran is still playing at the age of 39. He is currently on the books of Bundesliga side FC Köln. But the former Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Werder Bremen striker also has an unexpected side business: he once co-owed a horse with controversial ex-Manchester City, Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton. The horse in question was named Crying Lightening in honour of an Artic Monkeys song.
Though a visit to the festival might be ill-advised given he is currently serving a betting-related ban from football, Barton is very much into his horses. In addition to the nag he co-owned with Pizarro, he has also had racehorses called Wearethepeople, My Propeller, Hand in Glove and Havelovewilltravel.
Sir Alex Ferguson
While many footballers and managers have owned horses, few have seen their horse ownership threaten to derail a successful football career. The then Manchester United manager was reportedly gifted a 50 per cent stake in the horse Rocky of Gibraltar in 2001 by John Magnier – an Irish business magnate, thoroughbred stud owner and, at that time a major shareholder in United along with his associate JP McManus – and believed he was due the same percentage of stud fees. But with Rock of Gibraltar going on to win seven Group 1 races before he went to stud, he was valued at around £200m. After a legal dispute, Ferguson settled for £2.5m.
The original and the greatest racehorse-owning footballer. The former Southampton star, who won the FA Cup in 1976, went on to become a horse trainer after hanging up his boots. Though he has trained hundreds of horse, he is also an owner of many, including Zoltan Varga, Bard Of Brittany and Pattie.