Footballing stars in the horse racing world

One of football's most prolific strikers, Antoine Griezmann, will be lining up alongside his fellow countrymen tonight as France bid to gain a place in the World Cup Final. In their way stand a Belgium side that is brimming with talent and is coming off a win over one of the worlds best teams, Brazil.

However, with the World Cup nearly over I’m sure footballers will start thinking about what they will be getting up to before the start of the new season; planning holidays, family gatherings or a golf trip (a lot of footballers seem to have an obsession with golf). Griezmann is no different, however he will probably be thinking about something else, Horse racing. Having attended the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last year at Chantilly where ENABLE showed her class winning by 2 lengths, he is a big fan of the sport. His fascination with racing stems from his father who helped him with the purchase of his first horse.

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On September 9th 2017 he bought a share in TORNIBUSH, a then 3 year old colt, who had run 7 races, winning 1 and placing in 3. He runs over a distance of around a mile, winning his last race over 1 mile 1 furlong going off 3-1 favourite. The win came on the same day France beat Australia in their opening World Cup game in a tight 2-1 win, at which point most wouldn’t have predicted France could have made it this far. However, much like good racehorses, France seem to be improving with each performance.

Having only just recently got into owning a racehorse he has been advised by fellow french owner Ecurie Pierre Pilarski, to only co-own horses to begin with. He has registered his official silks which are a black design with pink stars including pink hoops on the sleeve around the elbows.

It wont come as a surprise to you that Griezmann isn’t the first person from the footballing world to cross over into horse racing, in fact many sport stars own racehorses. When they have an interest in the sport from a young age, and enough money to invest in it they usually chose to do so rather than just betting on it.

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Many Manchester United stars own racehorses including the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, who part-owned 2002 European Horse of the Year Rock of Gibraltar, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen. Owen, however, probably leads the way as he owns Manor House Stables where over 90 horses are trained. He bred and part owned BROWN PANTHER who was his most successful horse to date having won 10 of his 26 starts including the King George V Stakes in 2011 at Royal Ascot, The Goodwood Cup in 2013, the Irish St Leger and the Dubai Gold Cup. He also took part in a charity race last November at Ascot Racecourse finishing 2nd.

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It isn’t only in European football that stars enjoy the thrill of owning a racehorse as Wes Welker, a former American Footballer having played for the New England Patriots, owns many horses and one of his most famous wins in the UK came at Royal Ascot in 2015. The horse that he part owns, UNDRAFTED, ridden by Racing Breaks Ambassador Frankie Dettori on the day won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at 14-1. Also fellow American football star Rob Gronkowski owns the racehorse GRONKOWSKI who has a record of 4 wins over 5 starts on all-weather tracks, coming second in the Belmont Stakes to triple crown winner JUSTIFY.