- Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted as his gelding Spirit Dancer won in Bahrain
- He said it was the best feeling he had during his time involved in horse racing
Sir Alex Ferguson was over the moon after his best flat horse, Spirit Dancer, landed a £500,000 prize in Bahrain in thrilling style.
The former Manchester United manager has been in Bahrain for most of this week and was on course to see the Rochard Fahey trained six-year-old come with a withering late run to mow down Israr, trained by John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien’s Point Lonsdale.
Ferguson is no stranger to big success in flat racing and was one of the joint owners of multiple Group One winner Rock Of Gibraltar, trained by O’Brien, in 2002 – that colt’s biggest triumphs included the 2000 Guineas, the St James Palace Stakes and Sussex Stakes.
But this triumph will have an added kick for Ferguson, as he bred Spirit Dancer at his stud in Hemel Hempstead. The horse has been expertly trained by Fahey in Malton, North Yorkshire, and he came into this contest with a progressive profile.
‘That is the best moment (of my racing life), no doubt,’ he said. ‘When you looked at the field I was worried. Godolphin, O’Brien, Fabre they’ve all got horses here. And we are just a wee stable from Yorkshire. It was a fantastic performance. He won well.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Spirit Dancer won the Bahrain International Trophy to claim a £50k prize
The former Man United boss was elated as he danced around with Ged Mason after the result
‘When he hit the front, Ged (Mason) just jumped on 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 with him. He won well, won easy.’
Ferguson’s victories this season had included the Group Three Strensall Stakes at York on Ebor day in August and Spirit Dancer relished the quick conditions in Bahrain, scooting clear of some high-class rivals under jockey Oisin Orr.
Ferguson said in the build-up to the race that Spirit Dancer had ‘given me a lot of joy’ and those emotions will only have been stiffened by this triumph. As a gelding, he will not be required for breeding and he can certainly win more prizes in the future.
This could kick-start a run of success for Ferguson, whose best chaster Protektorat – whom he owns in partnership with Ged Mason and John and Lisa Hales – will bid to retain his title in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park next Saturday.
Ferguson – who has been involved horse racing for decades – said it was his ‘best moment’ in the sport so far