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Sir Alex Ferguson, 82, pockets nearly £1million as his horse triumphs at lucrative Saudi Cup meeting as the legendary ex-Man United boss declares ‘I’m living the dream’ – but there’s no broken ribs this time!


  • Spirit Dancer – co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson – won the Howden Neom Turf Cup 
  • The Saudi Arabia race, which Fergie attended, netted a £945,000 prize
  • The former Man United manager said he was ‘living the dream’ after the win

Sir Alex Ferguson declared himself to be ‘living a dream’ after his one-in-a-million horse, Spirit Dancer, landed another colossal payday.

The former Manchester United manager’s interests in racing are getting more profound by the week and he will remember this to be a Super Saturday, thanks to Spirit Dancer coming with a thundering late run to land the Group Two Neom Cup in Saudi Arabia – and with it a purse of £944,882.

On a night that saw the world’s richest race staged in Riyadh, Spirit Dancer’s exultant trainer Richard Fahey labelled him ‘a people’s horse’ and was left speechless by the fact he has now earned £1.7million in his career.

Ferguson had already been part of an ownership group that had enjoyed success at Kempton Park, with Kalif Du Berlais winning the Adonis Hurdle, but the victory of Spirit Dancer had extra-meaning, as he bred the seven-year-old at his stud in Hemel Hempstead.

Racing has always been a release for Ferguson and a welcome distraction from football – how timely this was given his old side’s last-gasp defeat to Fulham at Old Trafford – and it was impossible not to see his joy in the aftermath.

Sir Alex Ferguson said he was 'living a dream' after Spirit Dancer landed a colossal payday

Sir Alex Ferguson said he was ‘living a dream’ after Spirit Dancer landed a colossal payday

Spirit Dancer had a thundering late run to land the Group Two Neom Cup in Saudi Arabia

Spirit Dancer had a thundering late run to land the Group Two Neom Cup in Saudi Arabia

Spirit Dancer had been beautifully trained by Richard Fahey, who is based in Yorkshire, and received a superb ride from jockey Oisin Orr, who has built up quite a rapport with the son of the great Frankel having won a huge prize on him in Bahrain last November.

‘It’s fantastic,’ Ferguson beamed. ‘After Bahrain you come here and look at the field, the performance from Oisin and the horse and Richard, it’s unbelievable. Richard made the point he hasn’t had a lot of racing, and I think we see the evidence.

‘Oisin said this morning the horse is improving all the time. I took a gamble a few years ago with a stud in Hemel Hampstead and the results have been very good. That puts his win in Bahrain in perspective. Richard gave us confidence but it is one of these things, you’re never too confident.’

His co-owner and long-standing friend Ged Mason added: ‘It’s like a dream – I have to pinch myself. For Richard to produce him and win as easy as he did, he was like a steam engine. Sir Alex had a dream this morning and dreamt he’d win!’

Peter Done, the third member of the ownership group, said: ‘It’s absolutely amazing. Super, super trainer. All credit to him and Oisin with a terrific ride. We bought into him as a 2-year-old. If Sir Alex asks do you want a share, what do you say?

‘We turned down a big offer after Bahrain, we all turned it down and what a great decision.’

Ferguson is at a stage in life where he wants to enjoy seeing his horses in action and Spirit Dancer’s next assignment could well be on Dubai World Cup night, where his options would be the Dubai Duty Free or the Dubai Sheema Classic.

Spirit Dancer's next assignment could be on Dubai World Cup night, where he has options

Spirit Dancer’s next assignment could be on Dubai World Cup night, where he has options

Fahey said: ‘We’ll send him back to Dubai. We’ll see how he is in the morning but it’s hard not to go back to Dubai. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t line up in something on World Cup night.

‘Always in my mind I wanted to stretch out to a mile and a half [2400m] but I don’t want to make any decisions now. Any horse that goes on the international scene, becomes a people’s horse, and he’s got a huge fan base – the lad that has a share in him has something to do with that!

‘As trainers we don’t really understand what it means to people and to see the enjoyment gives me huge pride. He gets his head down and gallops to the line.’





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