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The Famous Faces Who Own Racehorses

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Race horses epitomize glamour and class… but they can also be very expensive to train and maintain. As such, it comes as little surprise that there are a number of celebrities who have used more than a little bit of their spare change to buy a racehorse – with various levels of success.

The odds are now coming out for the Cheltenham festival, and you can now see which horses are looking to try for success, according to Boylesport. And whilst the full line of contenders isn’t yet ready, it may be that when the time comes, there will be a few famous faces in the crowd cheering on their own horses.

Indeed, in 2022, it was Protekorat who took to the turf and tried his hand at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He was cheered on by many a supporter… but it wasn’t just the average supporter who was shouting out his name from the stands. There was also another famous face who had a lot more than just a passing interest in how he would perform. It was Sir Alex Ferguson, the former manager of Manchester United, who owned a share of the chaser. 

But he isn’t the only one… let’s take a look at some of the top celebs who own or part own a racehorse.

Sir Alex Ferguson

As we stated, Sir Alex Ferguson is a big fan of horse racing. Protektorat secured an impressive victory in the Lancashire Chase in 2022, which resulted in the horse being listed at 10/1 odds in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting for the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. This was pretty impressive – positioning him just behind some of the most impressive ante-post leaders, including Galopin Des Champs, the defending champion A Plus Tard, and L’Homme Presse. The Cheltenham tips certainly favoured Protektorat, thanks to his impressive performance on soft ground at Haydock Park. However, he only managed 5th place – and Galopin Des Champs took the win.

Sir Alex Ferguson is renowned for his discerning eye for exceptional football talent – and despite his horse falling short, he has showcased his knack for investing in high-quality racehorses. He has also owned Rock of Gibraltar, a seven-time Group 1 winner with a remarkable career. Additionally, Monmiral and Clan des Obeaux, both linked with Sir Alex Ferguson, have also achieved plenty of success at the highest levels of horse racing.

Dame Judi Dench

Despite being nominated for an Oscar seven times, her talent doesn’t stop there. This iconic actress has also found consistent success in the world of racehorse ownership. One of Dame Judi’s very first forays into racehorse investments, Smokey Oakey, enjoyed some serious success by winning seven times during his career – including victories in the Lincoln and Brigadier Gerard Stakes in 2008.

Dame Judi has retained her interest in the sport – most notably with As De Mee. This racehorse won the Grand Sefton Chase in 2016 – exemplifying Dame Judi’s ongoing success in the world of horse racing. 

Unfortunately, As De Mee suffered an injury which prevented him from taking part in the Grand National two years later. Despite these challenges, Dame Judi’s achievements in the world of horse racing are very much worth a mention.

Liz Hurley

The quintessential posh girl, it comes as no surprise that Liz is on the list. Ms Hurley is among several celebrities who have become investors in the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing syndicate. Other famous members of this syndicate include Hugh Bonneville and Heston Blumenthal.

Census, a cherished selection of Hurley’s, enjoyed a victory in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury. Overall, the Highclere syndicate has been pretty successful, having amassed £12 million in winnings over the years – with ten wins at the Royal Ascot.

Richard Hammond and Carol Vorderman

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Anthony Upton For The Jockey Club/Shutterstock (9459842br)
Carol Vorderman and Richard Hammond on the racecourse as part of a tour with Michael Dickinson
Cheltenham Festival St Patrick’s Thursday, Horse Racing, Cheltenham, UK – 15 Mar 2018

In a rather unexpected collaboration, former Countdown mathematician Carol Vorderman and ex-Top Gear host Richard Hammond have come together to invest in racehorses. They are part of the Surf On the Turf ownership syndicate, with one of their most successful investments being Subway Surf. This horse has secured victories twice on the National Hunt circuit, along with five runner-up finishes. 

Could we see a big-name winner in Cheltenham 2024? Let’s wait and see!