The former Liverpool winger, Ryan Kent, has joined the legion of footballers, past and present, that have branched out into racehorse ownership.
The 26-year-old, who joined Turkish club Fenerbahce after leaving Rangers at the end of the 2022/23 season, spent the best part of £150,000 on a yearling at the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale in August.
His new purchase will join his growing stable of horses, with Kent himself admitting that a tilt at Royal Ascot is the ultimate ambition from his hobby.
And with some big-name trainers on board, he may yet join the small band of football aces that have won some of racing’s biggest prizes.
As the 2023 Flat season winds down to a close, one of the most prestigious races yet to be run is October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris. Prominent in the Arc horse racing betting is Emily Upjohn, a 12/1 chance behind the likes of Ace Impact (7/2), Hukum (11/2) and Feed the Flame (7/1).
The horse race results confirm that Emily Upjohn is a live contender by virtue of the fact she has won five of her nine outings to date, including victories in the Coronation Cup at Epsom (ahead of Arc fourth-favourite Westover) and the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes in 2022.
The four-year-old is trained at the yard of John and Thady Gosden, who have won pretty much every big prize in Flat racing, while her sire is Sea the Stars. This brings us full circle back to Kent…
— Aga Khan Studs (@AgaKhanStuds) August 23, 2023
Amongst his collection of horses is a filly from Sea the Stars that will be trained by the Gosdens, so that’s already a picture of a runner with impeccable pedigree and potential emerging.
Kent also has Simple Man, a three-year-old trained by Henry Candy who won on debut at Nottingham and who was second last time out at Goodwood.
How long will it be before Kent joins the major winner’s club?
Ironically, a handful of Kent’s former Liverpool teammates have also moved into racehorse ownership – enjoying similar levels of success on the track as they have on the football pitch.
A consortium featuring the likes of Jordan Henderson, Andy Robertson and James Milner splashed £65,000 on a horse called Mr McCann – named after the club’s press officer. And the four-year-old has already amassed more than £60,000 in prize money after strong wins at Haydock, Lingfield and over in Bahrain.
🔴 Liverpool win it!
— The Jockey Club (@TheJockeyClub) August 6, 2022
Another former Reds star has branched out into racing as an owner and breeder. Michael Owen, one of the best players in Liverpool’s recent history, set up the Manor Park Stables and has enjoyed numerous winners since – not least Brown Panther, whose litany of successes includes victory in the Dubai Gold Cup and King George VI Stakes.
One Mersey connection who has fared less well in the sport is Wayne Rooney. The former Everton striker invested in a small handful of horses, but they could only muster one win between them in 23 outings.
One of the most successful racehorse owners with a football connection actually comes from Liverpool’s bitter rivals, Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary manager who oversaw the most trophy-laden period in the club’s history, loves horse racing and has owned a share in some remarkable animals.
Rock of Gibraltar won eight Group One races during a stellar career, while over fences Clan Des Obeaux has triumphed in some of British racing’s most prestigious renewals, including the Grand National and King George.
Kent will be hoping to add his name to the list of footballers who have excelled in racehorse ownership.