Home Business Insights & Advice Three successful businessmen and horse owners

Three successful businessmen and horse owners

by Sarah Dunsby
27th Mar 23 1:12 pm

The horse racing and business worlds have enjoyed a lot of crossover, with many successful entrepreneurs using their excess wealth to purchase champion racehorses. Many fail to have the same level of success in the realm of racing as they do in business, but there are certain people that excel in both facets of life.

Michael O’Leary

O’Leary is the CEO of low-cost airline Ryanair, which is one of the most successful budget airlines operating in the United Kingdom and Ireland. O’Leary is outspoken and has made few friends with his style of operation, looking at every opportunity to cut down on costs for his airline to offer the best deal for customers. He has brought the same level of dedication and eye for detail to horse racing with Gigginstown House Stud.

O’leary employs the outstanding trainer, Gordon Elliott, to train his horses and has not been disappointed with the level of success, securing victories at the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival. O’Leary’s crowning achievement in race has been the two victories of Tiger Roll at the Grand National at Aintree, where the great horse became only the second charge in the modern era to win back-to-back races, emulating Red Rum.

He was cruelly denied a chance for a third win in a row, but it has certainly enhanced the reputation of Gigginstown House Stud. Delta Work and Conflated are two charges aiming to follow in the footsteps of Tiger Roll at the 2023 Grand National and are among the leading contenders in the odds both at 12/1 and appetising prospects for anyone betting on horse racing at the event. If they were to win, Gigginstown House Stud would become the most successful owner in the history of the event with four victories after Tiger Roll’s two triumphs and Rule The World’s victory in 2016.

JP McManus

McManus began his business empire in construction in Ireland before moving into the gambling industry. It was not long before he transitioned into horse ownership and now owns the most horses in the National Hunt, totalling over 500 charges spread across different yards. Like Gigginstown House Stud, McManus has enjoyed a great level of success at the National, winning the event twice with Don’t Push It in 2010 and Minella Times in 2021.

He recently notched his 70th winner at Cheltenham Festival as A Dream to Share triumphed under trainer John Kiely in the Champion Bumper. Iroko and Sire Du Berlais also achieved victories in his colours during the week, and he will be eyeing a further triumph in the Grand National with his available charges in a bid to bridge the gap to Gigginstown House Stud with Any Second Now – aiming to go one better than his second-place finish in 2022.

Tony Bloom

Bloom made his money as a poker player online and has enterprises in the gambling industry, but his true love comes through sport. He has successfully developed Brighton and Hove Albion into a top-tier club in the Premier League, challenging for a place in the Champions League in the 2022/23 season. He also owns Belgian club Union Saint-Gilloise, who have made deep strides into the Europa League in the current campaign.

However, he has also enjoyed a lengthy career in horse ownership and seems to have cracked the code as he has done with his football teams in recent history. Bloom has found one of the best horses in the National Hunt in the form of Energumene, who successfully defended his Cheltenham Festival Champion Chase crown, joining an elite field of competitors to achieve the feat. He might have found the appetite for success in horse racing and it would not be a surprise to see his horses contend for the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the near future.


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