Given the proximity of Anfield to Aintree, Chester and other racecourses in the North West, it’s perhaps no surprise that Liverpool FC and the sport of horse racing are indelibly linked.
Horses named Van Dijk, Klopp and Mosala – that’s a nod to Mo Salah, if you hadn’t figured it out – have all enjoyed success in British racing, while Jurgen Klopp himself once described speedy forward Darwin Nunez as being ‘like a racehorse’ after his performance against Fulham back in May.
“He was like a racehorse!” 🏇
Do you agree with Jurgen Klopp on Darwin Nunez’s performance tonight? 👇 pic.twitter.com/lmXUGgFHAt
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) May 3, 2023
Terry O’Neill, who was once a considerable shareholder in the club, has owned Cheltenham Festival winners in the past, while present and former Reds players have also given racehorse ownership a go.
Six Liverpool players, past and present, have an ownership stake in a horse that is still running strong to this day.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, alongside former Reds Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana, acquired the horse Mr McCann back in 2021.
Named after Liverpool’s press officer, Matt McCann, the sextet sent the horse into training at Michael Owen’s Manor House Stables – more on him shortly – with famed trainer Tom Dascombe.
Given that they paid a combined £65,000 for the horse, the Reds past and present will be delighted with Mr McCann’s progress – he’s already made £61,000 in prize money in his four-year-old season.
Wins at Haydock and Epsom netted a big chunk of that cash, but hopes of a dart at the Epsom Derby when he finished a lacklustre fifth in the Dee Stakes at Chester. The horse now races exclusively in Bahrain.
While talk of legendary Liverpool strikers generally revolves around the likes of Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler and Roger Hunt, the young brilliance of Michael Owen at Anfield should not be forgotten.
The pint-sized forward has gone on to have similar levels of success in racing, acting as an owner and breeder from the Manor House yard he runs with wife Louise.
Dozens of horses have passed through the gates of the Cheshire property, but few have captured the imagination quite like Brown Panther. The stayer won the King George V Stakes, Irish St Leger and Dubai Gold Cup in a stellar career, while others like Flaming Rib – with £444,000 in career prize money and counting – continue to enhance Owen’s reputation in the sport.
And perhaps more success is to come. Earlier in 2023, Owen revealed his latest four-legged protégé – suitably named Balon d’Or, who has gone on to score at Musselburgh and finish second in a high-quality conditions race at Epsom; netting the former Liverpool marksman £18,000 for his troubles.
Macca and Growler
A dynamic duo on the pitch, Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler parlayed their friendship into a variety of business opportunities – their ‘Macca and Growler Partnership’ owning a number of racehorses along the way.
Throwback to when Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman bought racehorses and named them ‘Some Horse’ and ‘Another Horse’.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) April 6, 2019
Although not imbued with the success of their former teammate Owen, the pair did enjoy some halcyon days on the track courtesy of their German import Seebald. He once lost by a short head to the outstanding Best Mate at Exeter, was runner-up to Moscow Flyer in the Arkle and won a decent handicap race at Cheltenham, albeit not at the Festival, in 2004.
Okay, so Ryan Kent won’t exactly go down in history as a Liverpool FC legend having made just a single first-team appearance, but he could yet make a name for himself in racing given his choice of connections.
Winning racecourse debut for Simple Man trained by Henry Candy, ridden by @rob_hornby18!
— Nottingham Racecourse (@NottsRacecourse) September 28, 2022
The owner of a handful of horses, Kent is known to have a filly in training with John and Thady Gosden – a duo that have won pretty much everything that’s worth winning in Flat racing. Better still, that horse was sired by Sea the Stars; his progeny, which include Stradivarius, Harzand and Baaed, have won stacks of Group One races around the globe.
Kent’s latest foray into racing is a £145,000 acquisition from the Goffs sale, while others are in training with the likes of Ralph Beckett.
The winger, who now plays for Turkish outfit Fenerbahce, has set his sights on owning a Royal Ascot winner. He’s certainly got his horses in training with the right people, which is a useful start on his mission.