Michael Owen and Brown Panther
Michael Owen and Brown Panther

Michael Owen’s Brown Panther wins King George V Stakes (G2)

(Photo : The Guardian)


Michael Owen has never cried on a football pitch, not when scoring a hat-trick against Germany nor at the other end of the emotional scale when losing in the World Cup.

But the Manchester United and England striker pretty much bawled his eyes out recently when Brown Panther, a horse he bred as well as owns, won the King George V Stakes at a canter. A wet end to a wet Ladies Day.

The heavy rain had stopped by the time the tears began to flow. That’s how passionate Owen is about his racing, a business in which he has invested millions, of course, but also a part of life very close to his heart.

“No, I have never cried scoring a goal,” he said. “But racing is my passion. I am so keen, it is one thing to buy a horse at the sales and see it win. It is a different thing entirely to win with a horse bred from an 11 year old mare who is pretty much a family pet.”

“The kids pat her every morning and love her so much. And then to win with her son, in my own colours, and at Royal Ascot. It is just amazing. You have to have done it to know the feeling. I have lost my voice shouting the horse one.”

Brown Panther is an entry for the German Derby, which takes place in Hamburg on July 3rd, the day before Manchester United start pre-season training. “I might have to ask the manager for an extra day off.”

You have to think Owen had been overtaken by his excitement; not able to see clearly through his moist eyes. Sir Alex Ferguson may be a fellow owner and enthusiast, but players require a better excuse than that to miss the resumption of training. It might have been helped if Fergie had been given a betting steer like many of Owen’s United team-mates. “I told any of the players who texted to get on.” It is not known whether the manger would have heard the jungle drums.

Extract from The Sunday Times