‘I could tell my players what to do’ – Sir Alex Ferguson jokes about Manchester United stars as he discusses love of horse racing
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‘I could tell my players what to do’ – Sir Alex Ferguson jokes about Manchester United stars as he discusses love of horse racing

Nov 17, 2023

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that he takes a more relaxed approach to horse racing than he did during his Manchester United tenure.

The legendary manager has invested a lot of time in the paddock since his retirement from football in 2013.

Sir Alex's love of horse racing developed way before he called time in football

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Sir Alex’s love of horse racing developed way before he called time in footballCredit: Getty

Following a trophy-laden career at Old Trafford that saw United excel domestically and continentally, the Scotsman now owns 32 horses.

Pitches have been swapped for racecourses, with his Spirit Dancer set to race in the Bahrain International Trophy on Friday.

Sir Alex cut an animated figure on the touchline when his players fell below standards, but horse racing is a very different game.

As a result, he told Racing TV’s Raceday that he takes a step back at the races: “I think my competitive element was always left in football.

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“I never question the trainer and I never get upset if the horse loses because its a different sport for me.

“I can’t tell a horse what to do, whereas at least I could tell my players what to do.

“In that respect, I’m not a critical judge at all, ever. I enjoy being there, if a horse wins then yeah, of course you’re excited, particularly in big races.

“Spirit Dancer, the horse in the race tomorrow, has given us great joy.

Sir Alex was one of the most passionate manager in football during his United tenure

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Sir Alex was one of the most passionate manager in football during his United tenureCredit: AFP
But he has less control over the horses than he did with his players

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But he has less control over the horses than he did with his playersCredit: @raceday.rtv TikTok

“I’ve started a stud down in Hemel Hempstead and that was the first product of the stud with Frankel [legendary horse], with Queen’s Dream, and we’ve done well, one or two have done very well.”

Sir Alex won an incredible 38 trophies at United, including 13 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues, and is now eyeing success with his horses.

He revealed that his love of racing generated from a visit to Cheltenham Festival and it soon became a release for him away from the world of football.

Ferguson remarked: “To be honest, the roots are all my father’s, he was a great horse fan.

“He used to have his Timeform book on a Saturday morning, all the information you could probably get about every race. That’s when the scene was set, without question.

“I didn’t really take it up in terms of ownership until 1997/98 or something like that.

“There was an international break and I said to my wife, ‘Why don’t we go to the racing?’ She says, ‘Where did you get that from?’

“So we went to Cheltenham and we met two great Irishmen, Des Scahill who did the commentaries in Ireland and John Mulhern, a wonderful man, and I got hooked on it.

Sir Alex has been successful in racing but takes a more laid-back approach

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Sir Alex has been successful in racing but takes a more laid-back approachCredit: Getty

“I bought a horse with Jack Berry and from there on, I’ve now got 32! It’s a fantastic sport in terms of a release for me, away from the football, I’ve followed it ever since.”

Spirit Dancer, trained by Richard Fahey, will feature in the Group Two race in Bahrain with a whopping $1billion [£804million] prize fund.

Sir Alex certainly has plenty of accolades to his name in football, but this time his next piece of silverware could come on the racecourse.


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