Star footballer takes to the saddle to ride at Ascot

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  • Former England footballer Michael Owen is set to ride at Ascot.

    Michael is planning on making his race-riding debut in The Prince’s Countryside Fund Charity Race on 24 November at Ascot racecourse.

    The sporting hero’s passion for racing is well known — but it was only this year that he sat on a horse for the first time.

    “It has been a long-term ambition of mine to learn how to ride and race, but as a professional footballer it was not possible,” said Michael, who has 89 England caps.

    “Now I have set myself the target of competing in The Prince’s Countryside Fund Charity Race.

    “It’s a brilliant cause and I can’t wait to get started; it is going to take a lot of hard work over the next few months, but I am really looking forward to it.”

    Michael is a prominent racehorse owner and landlord of Manor House Stables in Cheshire, from which Tom Dascombe has trained since 2009.

    Among his stable stars was Brown Panther, who Michael bred and owned. The horse won the 2015 Dubai World Cup, the 2011 King George V stakes at Royal Ascot and the 2013 Goodwood Cup.

    In 2013, Michael voiced his desire to learn to ride with the hope of taking part in a charity race — and has kept true to his word.

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    Last autumn, top Flat jockey Ryan Moore put Michael through his paces aboard a racehorse simulator during his first “riding lesson”.

    During the session at the British Racing School in Newmarket, Michael rode the equivalent of the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes — a six-furlong race held on Champions Day at Ascot.

    The Prince’s Countryside Fund, founded by Prince Charles in 2010, was set up to support British farmers and the countryside. It provides more than £1.5million in annual grants and runs its own programmes.

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