Highflier O’Leary, The Queen, ‘Fergie’, Liz Hurley and Rolling Stones Ronnie Wood add rock ‘n roll to Cheltenham

The Late Queen Mother and The Queen, Patron of the jockey club, at Cheltenham in 1956.
The Late Queen Mother and The Queen, Patron of the jockey club, at Cheltenham in 1956.

THE Cheltenham Festival 2019 during March 12-15 is set to feature the top National Hunt horses – along with a plethora of celebrities – famous names who own and breed racehorses, including The Queen.

Sir Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United manager who used to own a share in Rock of Gibraltar, who ran in the colours of the Red Devils, will be in attendance at Cheltenham, being part-owner of Clan Des Obeaux, a leading candidate in the Gold Cup.

Morning tv celebrity Jeremy Kyle is one of the backers behind eight year old Glen Rocco.

Liz Hurley’s involvement in racehorse ownership was being part of the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing group.

One of the horses Hurley part-owned, Albany Stakes-winner Memory, reportedly ended up being sold to Queen Elizabeth II for £500,000 in 2011.

The Queen has reportedly earned over £7m in winnings from her stake in racehorses, having inherited horses when her father King George VI died in 1952.

The Monarch also owns those raised at the Royal Stud in Sandringham.

The Queen is a patron of the Jockey Club, the organisation that owns the Cheltenham Festival.

Former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United and England footballer Michael Owen has taken out a trainers licence since hanging up his boots.

Owen’s Brown Panther was the first horse from his Manor House stables to secure a Group I victory, winning the Irish St. Leger in 2014.

Owen’s ex-England and United teammate Wayne Rooney part-owned Yourartisonfire, Pippy, Tomway and Switcharooney.

And racing has some rock and roll in the Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, who runs a breeding farm Sandymount House in Ireland, where he has bred several winners at The Curragh.

Former Countdown host Carol Vorderman and ex-Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond have recently become part-owners of Subway Surf.

Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary, 57, who is sponsoring The Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham festival, was the winning owner of Road To Respect at Cheltenham in 2017.

O’Leary, reportedly worth $1.3billion, has the Gigginstown Horse Stud, county Westmeath, Ireland, and has a plethora of horses with trainer Gordon Elliott.

“He’s a genius at what he does,” said O’Leary, who won the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in 2006 with War of Attrition, and Don Cossack in 2016.

O’Leary also has two Aintree Grand National winners under his belt in Rule the World (2016) and Tiger Roll (2018).

*Eyebrows have been raised with Gold Cup entry Presenting Percy, attempting to become only the second horse after Easter Hero – 90 years ago – to land the Gold Cup without having run over fences in the same season.

Jockey Davy Russell said: “I’m happy and I’ll be going into the race like he’s had ten runs.

“He’ll be fit and I’ll ride him the way I usually do. If he’s good enough, he’s good enough, and if he’s not, he’s not.”

Gold Cup betting: Presenting Percy 7-2; Clan Des Obeaux 9-2; 2018 Gold Cup winner Native River, 6-1.