Who is John McManus?

John Patrick McManus, almost invariably known in racing circles as ‘J.P.’, is an Irish billionaire, best known as the largest owner in National Hunt racing. At the last count, McManus had over 550 horses in training; in the 2019/20 National Hunt season, his familiar green and gold colours – ‘borrowed’ from his home Gaelic Athletic Association club, South Liberties – were carried to victory 79 times, earning £2.14 million in prize money and making him Champion Jumps Owner in Britain by £1.39 million.

His biggest single earner in 2019/20 was Epatante, trained by Nicky Henderson, who collected £79,467 for winning the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Indeed, McManus is the leading owner in the history of the two-mile hurdling championship with nine winners, including the last four – namely Buveur D’Air in 2017 and 2018, Espoir d’Allen in 2019 and Epatante in 2020 – and a notable hat-trick by Istabraq in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

In fact, McManus is, far and away, the leading owner in the history of the Cheltenham Festival as a whole, with 66 winners. Of the main ‘championship’ races, aside from the Champion Hurdle, he has won the Stayers’ Hurdle three times, with Baracouda in 2002 and 2003 and More Of That in 2014, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup once, with Synchronised in 2012. He also famously won the Grand National with Don’t Push It – the one and only winner of the celebrated steeplechase for Tony McCoy – in 2010.

Who is the most successful owner in the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup?

In the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which was inaugurated, as a steeplechase, in 1924, several owners have won what is, nowadays, the most prestigious race in the British National Hunt calendar three or more times. The three-time winners are, in chronological order, Frank Vickerman, owner of Cottage Rake, victorious in 1948, 1949 and 1949, and Jim Lewis, owner of Best Mate, successful in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Anne Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster, owner of Arkle – who completed a notable hat-trick in 1964, 1965 and 1966 – went one better, courtesy of Ten Up in 1975 and is, in fact, the only four-time winner in the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

However, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most successful owner in the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup was the Honourable Dorothy Paget, who was as eccentric as she was rich, but nevertheless amassed seven wins in the mid-twentieth century. The indomitable Miss Paget was, of course, the owner of Golden Miller, the most famous steeplechaser on the inter-war years, who completed an unprecedented five-timer in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935 and 1936. She also owned Roman Hackle and Mont Tremblant, winners in 1940 and 1952, respectively.

Who is the most successful racehorse owner?

In the history of British horse racing, the most successful owner is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. In 1992, Sheikh Mohammed founded Godolphin, the Al Maktoum family-owned horse racing stable, which has since won over 5,000 races worldwide and has won the Flat Owners’ Championship in Britain thirteen times since its inception. In 2018, for example, Godolphin accrued over £4.4 million in prize money in Britain, thanks in no small part to a first victory in the Derby with Masar, trained by Charlie Appleby.

However, Sheikh Mohammed recorded his first winner, as an owner, in Britain in June, 1977 and he and his brother, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, were highly successful owners in their own right throughout the Eighties, long before the foundation of Godolphin. Indeed, between 1985 and 1993, Sheikh Mohammed was Champion Owner in every year bar one, 1990, in which Sheikh Hamdan took the title. In fact, the year after Godolphin won the Flat Owners’ Championship for the first time, in 1996, Sheikh Mohammed won it again in his own right.

How much does it cost to own a racehorse?

Depending on its pedigree, physique and, if it has raced, its performance on the racecourse, a racehorse can cost anything from several thousand to hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of pounds. The typical initial purchase price is around £15,000. Of course, the initial purchase price is just the start; thereafter racehorse owners incur annual costs for training, insurance, veterinary care, registration, entry and transport. According to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the annual cost of owning a racehorse is, on average, approximately £23,000 for a horse that races on the Flat and approximately £17,000 for a horse that races under National Hunt Rules.

The prohibitive cost of outright, or sole, ownership is one reason why many British racehorses are owned by syndicates or, in other words, groups of people who band together, under the auspices of a licensed trainer, or syndicate manager, to share the cost of owning one or more horses. Each member of the syndicate owns a small share – typically 2.5%, 5% or 10% – in the syndicated horse(s) and either pays a one-off fee, or an upfront fee, plus ongoing monthly training fees.