Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I'm a Celebrity...Get Me to The Races!

Elizabeth Hurley - cropped
Elizabeth Hurley - cropped (Photo credit: Carol Browne)
Aintree, Cheltenham and the Grand National are all popular haunts with some of the UKs glitterati. Everyone from footballers and their wives and TV personalities, to reality TV ‘stars’, put on their finery to enjoy a flutter at the races. When horseracing season is in full swing, we all love to see who was there, who wore what, and most importantly – who they were betting on.

But for some of these celebrities, sitting on the sidelines is no longer enough. In order to get closer to the action, more and more famous faces have taken the plunge into racehorse ownership. No longer limited to pub syndicates or Arab Sheiks, the world of racehorse ownership is littered with famous faces.

Increasingly popular with the sporting world, everyone from golfer Lee Westwood to Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney have recently experienced racing success. And we all know that The Queen is passionate about horseracing, but you might be surprised at some of the other famous faces you might bump into at the Grand National:

Dame Judi Dench

National treasure and quintessentially British film star Judi Dench may not be the stereotypical racehorse owner. But thanks to the training expertise of Mark Tompkins, her horse Smokey Oakey has experienced relative success at some of the most prestigious races in Britain. The James Bond actress is a regular feature at Newmarket, and has a number of horses in the care of Tompkins.

Elizabeth Hurley

Another famous actress, Elizabeth Hurley, has turned her passion for horse racing into ownership. Hurley is part of the Highclere Racing Syndicate and is one of several owners with interest in Census. She is regularly seen at some of the biggest racing events in the UK, cheering on her winning horse.

Ant and Dec

Geordie duo Ant and Dec are better known for their TV presenting and dabble in the music business. Few people associate them with the world of horse racing. Newcastle’s finest tasted victory twice in 2012 with their horse, Primaeval.

Jeremy Kyle

The chat show host, who has recently found fame in the US, is more used to dealing with people than horses. In fact, Kyle owns several horses in partnership with his wife. The couple have experienced great success with their horse in jump racing in 2010 and 2011.

Freddie Starr

In 1994, eighties wild child Freddie Starr became famous for something other than the alleged eating of small rodents. His horse, Miinnehorna, won the Grand National, despite a poor showing at the Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier in the month.

Other famous faces you might expect to see cheering on their horses include; Sir Alex Ferguson, Michael Owen, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jodie Kidd, and Denise Lewis. The sport has always been a Great British institution, but is growing in popularity with both the A-list and Joe Public. So next time you place a bet on the National, you might just be backing one of these celebrity-owned horses.

If you're looking for an expert trainer to help you rub shoulders with the elite, contact Jonjo O'Neill for more information.

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