Legendary Football Manager And Racehorse Owner Sir Alex Ferguson recently spoke in an interview courtesy of Gambling Zone to discuss:
- How He Fell In Love With Racing
- His Greatest Moment In Racing
- How His Late Wife Would Have Gone Mad At Him If She Knew About How Much He’s Spending On Racing
- High Hopes For The Future Of Racing In Bahrain
How I Fell in Love With Racing
It all began when I was a child and my father loved the horses. That’s the root of it. He would study Timeform and place his bets.
I backed a few horses when I was younger and went to the races at Ayr and Hamilton. Then I gave it a miss until I went to Aberdeen. Then at Manchester United there was a period when I was working too hard. My wife said, ‘You are going to kill yourself.’
Some staff suggested I get something else to do. There was a break in the season around March time, which is the month when Cathy and I were married. So I said, ‘Do you fancy going to the races?
She asked me where that idea had come from and I told her she was always on to me to do something else. We went to Cheltenham where we met Dessie Scahill and John Mulhern and they became good friends. We were driving into London on the way back and I said,’ Do you fancy buying a horse? I bought my first horse with Jack Berry.
It was a release valve to start with. Then it became more serious! It is a passion now. I have made quite a big investment in National Hunt.
My Greatest Moment In Racing
There is no doubt, Spirit Dancer’s win in the Bahrain International Trophy was
the best ever moment in racing for me. 100 yards out he looked like he was going to win but I didn’t want to count my chickens. I was just praying and he carried me over the line. The last thing I said to the jockey (Oisin Orr) was , ‘Remember he is a Frankel.’”
And he showed all the heart of a Frankel. Richard said to me that the trophy for the race looked like the FA Cup which he said I was used to picking up.
Bahrain Will Be As Big As Dubai In Terms Of Racing Within Five Years
It was my second time there. In 1986 we were invited by the Crown Prince who is now the King. We played a select team. It has changed a lot since! The potential here is enormous.
You can see that in five years Bahrain will be matching Dubai in terms of the racing. I really think so. They have plenty of land for a start to build things and the money they have gives them the chance to do things.
I loved the hospitality there. I signed a lot of things and had my picture taken but it only takes a second. You shouldn’t ignore people, particularly kids. You have to show patience for this kind of thing which I think I always have done.
My Late Wife Would Have Gone Mad At Me If She Knew How Much I Was Spending On Racing
Last week we bought two horses, one from Ireland – a pointer – and one from France. John Hales is the man who has all the contacts. We depend on John and we’ve bought some very good horses on his recommendation.
They don’t come cheap now. We paid £450,000 for the French horse and £200,000 for the Irish horse. That’s £650,000 and I had to write quite a large cheque. One of my sons said, ‘What are you doing?’
My late wife would have gone mad at me if she was alive if she knew the amount of money involved!! I must say at the time when I started it was a big release for me.
I never give instructions to trainers or jockeys. I never interfere with a trainer. I would never let anybody interfere when I was a manager so why should I interfere with people who know better in racing.
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