Liverpool Football legend Steve McManaman loves horse racing and he talks about Altior and how he got into racing in his latest column with horseracing.net
His tips for the Betfair Chase at Haydock and the 1965 Chase at Ascot this weekend
“It looks likely that Altior will head to the 1965 Chase at Ascot, so the most interesting in the Betfair are Bristol De Mai and Lostintranslation.
“Living in the north, the rain we’ve had recently would favour Bristol De Mai, and although Lostintranslation ran really well last time out, if it stays soft and the rain continues to fall, you would have to fancy Bristol De Mai.
“Meanwhile, I think the 1965 Chase is the better option for Altior. If you’re going to try and get him ready for the King George and three miles, then this race will be spot on, and the trip of two miles and five furlongs on Saturday will suit him down to the ground.
“Altior must be one of the best we’ve seen, though. Of course Frankel is the daddy on the Flat, but over Jumps we’re talking about horses such as Sprinter Sacre or Kauto Star for the mantle of the greatest ever. He’s 19 from 19 over obstacles, and if he can step up to three miles and win the King George or the Gold Cup, that will take him to another level. That being said, what he’s achieved so far is absolutely exceptional, and puts him up there with only a handful of names.”
Steve McManaman on how he got into Horse Racing
“My grandfather was a bookies’ runner many moons ago, and being from Kirkdale in Liverpool – with the Grand National just 10-15 minutes down the road – firstly you’re obsessed with football, and secondly you’re obsessed with racing.
“I’ve been to the races lots of times and I try and go as often as I can – I’m very good mates with A.P. McCoy and I am friends with a number of other jockeys.
“In terms of favourite racecourses, I love Cheltenham because of the quality of the racing there, but I prefer Aintree – which I love as it’s on my doorstep.
“I love Flat racing, too. I like York which is a very unique course, while I’ve been to Happy Valley in Hong Kong many, many times. I just think it’s a fantastic place and love the fact that it’s surrounded by skyscrapers – and I go as often as I can.”
Steve McManaman on the racehorses he’s owned in the past
“I’ve owned several horses over the years, and have been fortunate in that every horse I’ve invested in has been a success.
“It started with the Anfield Hombres in the mid-Nineties, which consisted of seven or eight Liverpool players. We owned a horse called Some Horse, and he won a couple of races at Haydock and Doncaster, which was brilliant.
“As my interest in horses progressed, I wanted to get better horses and to cut down on the partnership, because collecting money off some of the players was a disaster at times because there was so many of them.
“I ended up just getting myself and Robbie Fowler involved, and we started buying better quality horses.
“At first we had a horse called Auetaler that did very well for us, and ran in some good races and won some races.
“We were very fortunate with every horse we bought because Graham Bradley picked the horses for us, and every horse that we bought won races.
“Seebald was probably our most successful horse. He was second in the Arkle Trophy behind Moscow Flyer, and ran a few times in the Queen Mother Champion Chase as well as winning at Cheltenham on several occasions outside of the Festival.
“We also had horses that have won at Aintree, so we probably had around 35 wins out of five or six of our horses – so we were incredibly fortunate.”