SIR ALEX FERGUSON joked his late wife Cathy “would have killed him” if she knew how much he was spending on horses.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s wife of nearly 60 years Lady Cathy sadly died last monthRex
The TimesThe Scottish Manchester United legend loves to watch his horses[/caption]
PA:Press AssociationFerguson has only been passionate about racing[/caption]
Ferguson, 81, met Cathy in 1964 an described her as his “rock” in his autobiography.
Ferguson has recently been in Bahrain to watch his beloved horse Spirit Dancer scoop a huge prize.
In heartwarming scenes, the Scot could be seen dancing with delight as the six-year-old – who he bred at his Upperwood Farm Stud in Hemel Hempstead – stormed to victory at the Bahrain International Trophy, winning £500,000.
Aside from football, Ferguson has long possessed a passion for horses.
And speaking to Gambling Zone, he admitted that it’s been an expensive hobby – joking that Lady Cathy may not always have approved.
Ferguson said: “Last week we bought two horses, one from Ireland – a pointer – and one from France.
“John Hales is the man who has all the contacts. We depend on John and we’ve bought some very good horses on his recommendation.
“They don’t come cheap now. We paid £450,000 for the French horse and £200,000 for the Irish horse.
“That’s £650,000 and I had to write quite a large cheque. One of my sons said, ‘What are you doing?’
“My late wife would kill me if she was alive if she knew the amount of money involved! I must say at the time when I started it was a big release for me.
“I never give instructions to trainers or jockeys. I never interfere with a trainer. I would never let anybody interfere when I was a manager so why should I interfere with people who know better in racing.”
Ferguson continued: “I have 32 [horses] in all. I have six with Highclere. Most are National Hunt and a lot are with Paul Nicholls. And with Dan Skelton.
“I have got a few on the Flat. Spirit Dancer is one with Richard Hughes and two with Andrew Balding. He’s very good.
“One is called Hampden Park who won by ten lengths at Ascot first time out in October. He’s injured now and won’t run until the spring.”
On where Spirit Dancer’s recent triumph ranks, Ferguson admitted: “That is the best no doubt, the best ever moment in racing for me. 100 yards out he looked like he was going to win but I didn’t want to count my chickens.
“I was just praying and he carried me over the line. The last thing I said to the jockey (Oisin Orr) was , ‘Remember he is a Frankel.’
“And he showed all the heart of a Frankel. Richard said to me that the trophy for the race looked like the FA Cup which he said I was used to picking up.”
Spirit Dancer’s latest winner bagged Ferguson and the horse’s co-owners Ged Mason and Fred Done a £500,000 payday.
The superstar horse had already won £240,000 during his career.
XFerguson celebrates Spirit Dancer’s triumph[/caption]