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Epsom Derby Owen’s ultimate dream

Former England striker won’t ride again but targets more success as owner-breeder

Gulf News

Dubai: Former England striker Michael Owen has no plans to get back on a horse after making his jockey debut but does want to win the Epsom Derby as an owner and breeder.

The 38-year-old former Liverpool and Real Madrid Ballon D’Or winner (2001) finished second on his jockey debut in a charity race at Ascot in November, but now he vows to quit while he’s ahead.

“I’d have to chop both my arms and legs off and lose about five stone (30-kg) to do that seriously,” he told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Future Blockchain Summit at Dubai World Trade Centre recently — where he was promoting celebrity cryptocurrency firm GCOX.

“No, I’m too old and too heavy, it was purely to do something for charity and it was relatively straight forward in that I have my own stables and can practice in my own time.It was a lifelong ambition, I never thought I could ride in a race and had never even sat on a horse until a few months ago. I literally had 40 days from nothing to ride in a race and lost just under two stone in the process, so it was a big challenge and one that I absolutely loved but I won’t be going back there.”

As a successful owner and breeder however, Owen does foresee a bright future. He’s already bred Brown Panther, which won the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2011 and the Dubai Gold Cup on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan in 2015, and now he’s targeting more.

“My ambition is to permanently dine at the top table and have representation from my stables in all the top races,” he said. “It’s a bit like being a footballer, you want to play at the top for 15 years and pick up all the trophies that come your way.

“I want to get my yard into a position whereby I’ve got so much quality that we are constantly performing at the highest level with all the other big superpowers.

“The Epsom Derby is probably the most prestigious race, but if you’re in it for finance, it’s probably the Dubai World Cup. The Arc de Triomphe also has huge prestigue, but for an Englishman I think winning the Epsom Derby would be the ultimate dream.”

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