Exploring the synergy between football and horse racing

Exploring the synergy between football and horse racing

Football and horse racing are two of the most popular sports in the UK. Prestigious football tournaments and horse racing events such as the F.A Cup, Champions League, Royal Ascot, Grand National and other major sporting events all can stop the country in its tracks and often attract an audience of millions.

Perhaps what you didn’t know was that there has been a huge cross over between the two sports, with many stars from the world of football playing an active part in the horse racing community. Both sports also apply similar practices when it comes to utilising data for training and development.

Let’s reveal a little more. 

Famous managers become horse racing owners

Sir Alex Ferguson

There have been many instances where famous football managers have dipped their hands into horse racing ownership. The most famous example is Sir Alex Ferguson. Having long had an affinity with jumps racing he has also tasted significant success on the flat – including a win with Rock of Gibraltar in the 2000 Guineas and a victory in Bahrain with Spirit Dancer.

Ferguson has a fine stable of horses and currently owns 82 different horses. One of the best aspects of jumps racing is that horses can run at racing numerous times and many of Ferguson’s best horses such as Hitman, Protektorat and Hermes Allen all look to hold strong odds for Cheltenham races this year.

Ferguson’s love for horse racing has always been devout and there have even been occasions where Ferguson has listened to developments of a race that his horses have been in whilst Manchester United games have been in progress.

Despite his love and dedication for the sport, Ferguson is yet to taste success in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but will hope that one of his many stable stars will be able to achieve his lifelong dream.

Harry Redknapp

Harry Redknapp is one of the most loved British football managers in history and has also enjoyed a rich relationship with horse racing.

Although he doesn’t boast as many horses has Sir Alex Ferguson, Redknapp has over twenty horses in his stable and has had runners in several of the sport’s biggest races. Although he can’t match the achievements of Ferguson, Redknapp had arguably his greatest success as a trainer when his horse, ‘Shakem Up’Arry won a lucrative race at Cheltenham Trials day back in January 2024. He will head to the 2024 Cheltenham Festival holding an outside chance.

Former players find new careers in horse racing

As well as some of the games best managers getting involved in horse racing some of the game’s best players have also forged a new career in the sport.

Michael Owen

Michael Owen has long had an affinity for horse racing and has used his resources to fund one of the UK’s best breeding operations.

The owner of Manor House Stables, Owen’s greatest moment in horse racing came when his own bred horse Brown Panther was victorious in the 2011 King George V Stakes. Since that crowning achievement, Owen has gone onto own numerous horses and looks destined for even more success.

Mick Channon

Capped by England, at the end of his successful football career Mick Channon decided that a career in horse racing was for him. Opting to become a trainer, Channon enjoyed tremendous success and trained multiple Group 1 horses to victory. With victories all over Europe, Channon was one of the best trainers of the early 2000s and earned much respect from his peers considering the unusual route he had taken into the sport.

The use of data

Horse racing and football are very similar when it comes to utilising data to improve performance.

Every single aspect of a player’s performance on the pitch can be tracked. As well as the total amount of passes they make and shots they have on goal, maximum running speeds and overall distance that is covered can all be tracked. Data can be used to help managers alter tactics whilst a game is in progress and can even assist them with making game time substitutions.

A horses’ performance can also be tracked in similar ways. Every inch of a race can be extensively covered from the type of ground a horse that was encountered, the furlong speeds and specific course and distance statistics.

In races like the Gold Cup, horses can compete on several different occasions. If a horse is beaten, a trainer can look at where areas went wrong and can introduce new training methods to try and bolster the horses chances the next time they compete.

Data can even assist with the purchasing of horses. If an owner is looking for success over a particular distance, the use of data can target specific mares and stallions that may be able to produce future champions.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *