Horse racing has always attracted the help of famous owners and some of football’s biggest names have pumped their money into the ‘Sport of Kings’.
The TV cameras are always quick to cover footballers’ trips to the races and we’re used to the sight of seeing them sipping champagne from their lavish boxes. But how many of them actually own horses?
Nick Wilby from Cheltenhamfestival.net takes a look at five of the most famous owners
Sir Alex Ferguson
There is no better place to start than with legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scot has owned a number of horses but none are more famous than the exceptional Rock Of Gibraltar who plays a leading role in Fergie’s autobiography.
Despite the tug of war over the horse with Irish racing tycoon John Magnier, Ferguson’s love for racing has been evident for many years and he even believes the sport helped him cope with the pressures of football management.
“Having another interest probably kept me in the job (at Old Trafford) longer. Definitely,” said Ferguson. Are the gee gees to thank for all those trophies?!
Owen’s love for racing grew so strong that many people believe it was one of the reasons he retired from football. How else do you replace the adrenaline rush you experience after scoring a goal?
Owen launched his multimillion-pound racing operation at Manor House stables in 2007, he now owns many horses and admits that after family and his football, horses are his number one passion.
Globetrotting stayer Brown Panther has been Owen’s leading thoroughbred and a victory at Royal Ascot and a fantastic seventh in the Melbourne Cup has had the former England striker in tears on national TV.
Michael Owen and Sir Alex Ferguson have enjoyed great success with their horses but the same can’t be said of Wayne Rooney.
The Manchester United striker splashed out a massive £126,600 on two horses Pippy and Switcharooney (see what he has done there) and they manage to win just one race between them!
Rooney bought into a third horse in 2014 and almost immediately hired a horse whisperer to help with the horse’s anger management. The filly, called Announcement, broke a trainer’s nose after tempers flared on the gallops!
Controversial midfielder Barton has owned a number of horses in recent years and any of his social media followers will confirm that he is ultra-passionate about the sport.
He splashed out some of his wages on a daughter of 2007 Epsom Derby winner Sir Percy and names his horses after some of his favourite songs.
My Propeller and Crying Lightning have the Artic Monkeys to thank for their name and Hand In Glove was taken from one of the classics by massive band The Smiths.
Paul Scholes is a joint-owner of Market Avenue Racing Club and the famous midfielder has enjoyed some success with his operation. However, any of his achievements as an owner must be eclipsed by his betting achievements in 2009.
The former Red Devils number 8 reportedly won £240,000 over two days of lucky betting on Howard Johnson horses.
Apparently he began his spree with a £1000 bet on Nosferatu at York six years ago and followed this up with separate bets of £20,000 and £25,000. The bookies were faced with a £170,000 pay out on that winner alone.
Redknapp might have attracted all the wrong headlines after he named his Swiss bank account after his dog but he has picked up plenty of good column inches with the horses he has owned.
The best of his stars has been top class sprinter Moviesta who was an impressive winner of the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He part owns the horse with Wilfried Zaha’s agent and that victory was easily the most significant in his twenty years of racehorse ownership. Unfortunately for Harry he wasn’t there to see it win after knee surgery ruled him out of a trip to the Glorious meeting.