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Former racing superstar Rock of Gibraltar is said to be at the centre of a row between two business associates: Sir Alex Ferguson and Irish multi-millionaire John Magnier.

Sir Alex was invited to buy a 50% share in the horse when it was running for £120,000 and, being a huge racing fan, he accepted. His decision turned out to be a smart move, as the two-year-old went on to win the Sussex Stakes in July 2002, as well as becoming the first horse ever to win seven Group One races in a row, including the English and Irish 2000 Guineas.

Since the start of this year, Rock of Gibraltar has been put out to stud, earning fees of about £60,000 for each covering.

With hundreds of owners said to be queuing up for their mares to be covered by the stallion, it looks as if he will generate even more income for his owners while he is at stud.

However, the dispute between the two men concerns what share each part-owner should receive of the profits. Sir Alex is reportedly demanding 50% of everything Rock of Gibraltar makes, and Mr Magnier is claiming he is not entitled to so large a share.

A spokesman for the Coolmore stud, where Rock of Gibraltar is standing, said the stud fees negotiated between racehorse owners were confidential, but can differ from ownership rights.

“When a horse has finished racing and goes out to stud, the same people can be involved with a different level of ownership,” he said.