Football and horse racing forever linked

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The worlds of football and horse racing have long been intertwined, with top stars in each sport enjoying a big affinity with the other.

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Many footballers enjoy a day at the races or even go a step further by becoming a racehorse owner, while there have been numerous examples of jockeys being massive fans of a particular football team.

Read on as we look at some of the people who have enjoyed the thrill of involvement in both sports.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Ferguson's part-ownership of Rock of Gibraltar is probably the most famous example of football and racing colliding.

His subsequent fall-out with fellow owners John Magnier and J.P. McManus had serious repercussions for Manchester United, with the pair eventually selling their stake in the club to the Glazer family.

Ferguson currently has a share in Clan Des Obeaux, a seven-year-old chaser who won the King George at Kempton over Christmas.

The horse is amongst the favourites for the Gold Cup and there are expected to be thousands of punters taking advantage of Cheltenham Festival betting offers to back him when the big day arrives.

AP McCoy

Record-breaking jockey AP McCoy was lured towards football when watching the drama of the 1979 FA Cup Final unfold as Arsenal overcame Manchester United.

Many of his relatives were United fans, but McCoy’s obstinate nature took over and he was a Gunners supporter from that day forward.

His love of the club has seen him develop a friendship with former Arsenal star Ray Parlour, a link-up that led to McCoy naming the horse Romford Pele – Parlour’s nickname – in honour of the midfielder.

McCoy now watches Arsenal whenever he can and is keen to ensure the legacy of following the club passes to the next generation by taking his son, Archie, with him to games.

Michael Owen

Michael Owen took his love of horse racing to the next level by founding his own stable in Cheshire in 2006 and turning it into a top class facility for trainer, Tom Dascombe.

Backed by businessman, Andrew Black, the former Liverpool and England star has enjoyed plenty of success in the sport of kings.

His most famous horse to date was Brown Panther, with the top stayer winning 11 of his 28 races during a glittering career.

Brown Panther famously won the Dubai Gold Cup in 2015, but his life was brutally cut short when he was fatally injured in the Irish St Leger later that year.

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