Sir Alex Ferguson: I can’t tell a horse what to do – my competitive element stayed at Manchester United but racing has given me a fantastic release away from football
- Legendary football manager Sir Alex Ferguson is no stranger to horse racing – owning 32 of them in his ever expanding empire
- One of Sir Alex’s most famous horses was Rock Of Gibraltar, who won a first Classic for the former Man Utd boss in the 2000 Guineas back in 2002
- Sir Alex’s current crop of stars includes Betfair Chase favourite Protektorat and cult horse Clan Des Obeaux
Sir Alex was speaking to Racing TV in Bahrain.
To be honest, the route I got into racing was through my father, he was a great horse fan. He used to have his Timeform book every Saturday morning, looking through all the information you could get about every race.
I didn’t really take it up, in terms of ownership at least, until 1997/98 when there was an international break and I said to my wife “Why don’t we go to the racing?” Where did you get that from, she said. We went to Cheltenham and I got hooked on it.
We bought a horse with Jack Berry and from there on, I now have 32 horses! It is a fantastic sport in terms of a release for me away from football.
To be honest, I think my competitive element was left in football. I never question the racing trainer or get upset if the horse loses as this is a different sport for me.
I can’t tell a horse what to do, whereas at least I could tell players what to do so in that respect, I am not a critical person at all. I enjoy being there.
Of course if you win, then it is really enjoyable being there, particularly big races, Spirit Dancer who is racing here tomorrow has given us great joy.
I have started a stud down in Hemel Hempstead and that was the first product of the stud with Frankel, with Queen’s Dream too and we have done well, one or two have done very well.
Oh, it’s been fantastic, especially the hospitality we have had. I see this place now and I think in five or six years it will be one of the top races in the world.
November 1986 I came here with Man Utd, it was my second game. It was the prince’s birthday and they had a select team play against us and that was my first real trip with United.
The change in the place is remarkable, the buildings, the design, it is quite fascinating.