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Sir Alex Ferguson was a man of discipline, standards, and setting an example – except from Cheltenham week.
The legendary Manchester United manager was one of the sternest task masters in history, who never let anybody step out of line. However, when the Cheltenham Racing festival comes around the corner, Ferguson always made space for his beloved hobby and side hustle.
He was the proud owner of the iconic racehorse ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ who won the 2002 European Horse of the Year and was worth a staggering £200million. And former United striker Dwight Yorke offered an interesting glimpse into how important horse racing was to the 13-time Premier League winner.
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“I have been to Cheltenham Festival a few times,” Yorke said on behalf of Cheltenham Betting. “Sir Alex Ferguson was always keen on it though.
“It was about the only time you'd see him outside his comfort zone and it was something he'd get excited for. It's no secret he loves the sport, he has a few horses himself, and it's a sport close to his heart.
“You could tell because he always had his phone in his jacket, the phone would go off and he would go on it." The 2022 Cheltenham Festival will be underway on March 14 and you can certainly bet your money Ferguson will be in and amongst the action.
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He will likely be hanging onto the railings on the balconies, stroking the horses in the paddock, and glued to his phone. "Ferguson is allowed to have his own passion outside of football and Cheltenham was one of them,” Yorke added.
“You always knew a race was on when he was on his phone. He would check it for updates while we were training in the Cheltenham week.” Fortunately for Ferguson and United, the Scotsman never let the festival cloud his focus too much.
However, that does not mean he was an advocate and willing supporter when it came to his players attending the festival. “God no! He wouldn't allow us to go to Cheltenham,” former defender Gary Pallister said to the Manchester Evening News. We wonder how Erik ten Hag would feel about his current crop spending a day or two at the races?
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