It seems that as more and more celebrities are trying out a day at the races, an increasing number are stepping up their involvement in the sport by becoming racehorse owners. From soccer players such as Michael Owen, to Hollywood A-listers such as Kevin Costner, many big names are deciding to further their involvement from merely having a flutter on race day. Many of these big names are now investing in the development of a particular horse or a whole group of horses.
Some of the owners may come at quite a surprise to you. Ronnie Wood, guitarist from Rolling Stones, owns a stud farm in Ireland and nineties hip hop pop icon MC Hammer has been the owner of an entrant to the Kentucky Derby.
Celebrity successes in the sport are largely dominated by royalty, with the Godolphin stables being owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum from United Arab Emirates, producing 200 winners a year, bagging almost £17 million in prize money.
Although many of the other celebrities do not win as many races as the Royal members, a lot of them see it as a future business and a serious way to invest their time and money.
In recent years, ex-Newcastle and Manchester United footballer Michael Owen already co-owns a stable which has overseen the training of many UK winners, including some owned by his former teammate Wayne Rooney. Manchester United’s ex-manager Alex Ferguson also has an active interest in horse racing, having owned horses for years.
Mick Channon, a former top level English footballer, has now become more known for his horse training abilities than he is for his achievements playing for Southampton or England.
Steven Spielberg – this Oscar-winning director has an active passion for horse racing. The movie legend co-owned racehorse Atswhatimtalkingabout, which finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby in 2003. On top of this, he is an investor in Biscuit Stables, a race-trainers organisation based in Delaware.
Kevin Costner – Kevin Costner, legendary actor and director co-owns a number of horses which run at Hollywood park in California. He also showed support in the industry by narrating a documentary called “Laffit: All About Winning, which celebrated the career of one of the most decorated jockeys, Laffit Pincay.
Wayne Rooney – Top class footballer Wayne Rooney initially purchased three horses: Pippy, Tomway and Switcharooney, but it was Yourartisonfire who brought about his first win on July 5th 2012 at Haydock Park.
Queen Elizabeth – the Queen is a long-time renowned horse owner. She had her first victory in her Coronation year (1953) when Choir Boy won at Royal Ascot. Her horse Estimate triumphed at the Royal Ascot last year, her 21st win at the prestigious event. In fact the Queen has eclipsed the success her mother enjoyed in racing. However, the English Grand National is still the one big race that has eluded them both.
Bobby Flay – Celebrity restaurateur and TV cook is leading a new generation of celebrity race horses. His first race was with Mrs Kipling in 2009 and since then, he has had 16 top three finishes in 36 races.
It seems that as time goes on, the celebrity names involved in the sport are getting younger. Maybe this could spark more interest in the sport amongst the younger generation.
David Fox developed a love of horseracing after watching his first Grand National as a child. Today David writes for numerous sporting websites and portals in the United Kingdom.