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How Harry Redknapp and Sir Alex Ferguson Got Involved With Horse Racing

Football and horse racing are two sports that are very closely intertwined, with a number of stars from the world of football going into racing ownership. Michael Owen once revealed that racing was his first love, and his footballing career only financed his love for the sport.

There are typically footballing stars at the track on a weekly basis in this modern day, with Steve McManaman among the most notable owners that have ambitions of winning huge races on the flat this season.

However, two of the most famous figures from the world of football that have achieved huge success in the racing industry are Harry Redknapp and Sir Alex Ferguson. You might not see them in the Saratoga stands betting on the 2024 Belmont Stakes odds, but it’s likely you see them at UK events like the Grand

How Redknapp Got Involved In The Sport

Harry Redknapp on a billboard

Redknapp achieved huge success throughout his playing and managerial career, and he remains the last English manager to have won a major trophy after winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth. However, the former Spurs and West Ham boss revealed that he got hooked by the sport of racing from an early age, as his grandmother would work at a local bookie in the East End.

Despite the bookies being illegal during that time, it would give Redknapp an initial look into how the sport worked from a betting perspective. His love for the sport was taken to a new level during his time playing at Bournemouth, as he revealed that a number of players put their money together to but a horse by the name of Slick Cherry.

That would give them the ability to dream of a big race win, as he was in training with David Elsworth. Slick Cherry would give Redknapp a first winner on course at odds of 9/1 at Chepstow, and that would only whet the appetite for further success within the sport.

Most Successful Horses

Redknapp has enjoyed some excellent victories on track throughout his career in the sport. A big success was achieved on the flat at Goodwood with Monviesta, who landed the King George and a group race in Ireland. However, the former manager admitted that his love is for the jumps.

Shakem Up’Arry gave Redknapp a first Cheltenham Festival winner in 2024 after landing the Plate Handicap Chase, and connections could target a potential run in the Grand National in 2025. The Jukebox Man nearly gave Redknapp a famous second winner at the Festival, but he would eventually come up short in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, before later finishing second in the G1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

Ferguson’s Love For Racing

Sir Alex Ferguson is likely the most famous ex-footballing figure involved within the sport of horse racing. Fergie revealed that he got involved in the sport from an early age through his father, who would purchase the Timeform magazine and the Racing Post every Saturday before settling down to watch the action on television.

However, the former United manager admitted that he stopped watching the sport throughout much of his adult life, before taking in a day at Cheltenham during an international break. From this moment, his desire for the sport was reignited, and he would purchase shares in some successful runners. His colours would achieve their first major victory in 2002, as the 81-year-old was a part-owner of Rock of Gibraltar, who would land victory in the G1 2,000 Guineas for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Since that success, Ferguson has had over 30 horses compete on track, which includes a home-bred song of Frankel by the name of Spirit Dancer, who landed success in the G2 Bahrain International Trophy in November 2023.

Most Successful Horses

Ferguson has been no stranger to success throughout his sporting career, and that has continued on the track, with his colours being carried to victory at some of the biggest events. One of his most celebrated days at the racetrack came in 2021, as he achieved a treble in Grade 1 company in Liverpool on the opening day of the Grand National meeting.

Clan Des Obeaux completed the remarkable feat in the Betway Bowl after Protektorat and Monmiral has earlier landed the Novices’ Chase and Juvenile Hurdle. Fergie would later reveal that this was his best day on a racecourse. However, this would later be overtaken at the Cheltenham Festival in 2024 when Protektorat would land the G1 Ryanair Chase and Monmiral would come out as a shock winner of the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.

The former United boss continues to plot more dominance within the sport, and that was echoed in early 2024 when connections spent a staggering £700,000 to purchase Caldwell Potter. The figure was the most paid for a National Hunt horse at a public auction, and connections will be hopeful of a strong 2024-25 season after the six-year-old landed Grade One victory over two miles on his final start in Ireland.

The published material expresses the position of the author, which may not coincide with the opinion of the editor.

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