Meet J.P. McManus – ex-Man Utd part owner who loves Cheltenham worth £2billion
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If there's one man who has been able to mix business and pleasure over the years, it's racehorse owner J.P McManus.
The 72-year-old Irish businessman will be one of the most recognisable faces at the Cheltenham Festival this week, and will be hopeful of adding to his endless list of winners too. He's recently purchased Corbetts Cross, the current favourite for Friday's Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
Not that his CV really needs any more boosting. He first tasted victory at the famous Festival with Mister Donovan in 1982 and, amid a string of highlights in his four-decade involvement, his horse Synchronised won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2012.
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He's twice won the Grand National Steeplechase too, via Don't Push It (ridden by AP McCoy) in 2010 and then 11 years later with Minella Times (Rachael Blackmore). The latter triumph however, couldn't be enjoyed with fans as the meeting was held behind closed doors due to the restrictions in place from the Covid-19 pandemic.
His success has helped yield a staggering net worth of £2 billion, but it's not just in racing where his name has become famous. He's invested heavily in the Limerick GAA organisation, while last year the sixth JP McManus Pro-Am golf tournament was held at Adare Manor.
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However, he also once played a part, in a roundabout way, in Manchester United's golden years. In 2001, he and fellow business supremo John Magnier became the second-biggest shareholders in the club, with their stake at just under 9%.
But they were bought out by the Glazer family in May 2005. The pair reportedly made around £110 million from their sale to the controversial American family.
Last year it was his son Tom in the headlines though, after gifting trainer Annabel Neasham a stunning Ferrari. The Australian-based McManus, had earned the car himself after his horse came home in the Inglish Millennium race, but technicalities meant he opted to give it away.
Incredibly JP McManus brought up his 4,000th winner as an owner last season. In an interview with the Irish Mirror he explained how he fell into it decades ago.
“It was gambling that led me to horses and then when I had a few quid, I fancied owning a horse,” he said. “It just developed. There was no great plan. It just fell into place.”
And as ever, with this year's Cheltenham Festival about to get underway, he will once again be sending a strong team. The team in green and gold will be going into the festival with six favourites and many more have a decent chance.
Cheltenham will kick off this Tuesday, and expects to welcome around 273,000 fans over the four days. And old school figures like McManus may be interested to see different attire amongst punters this year, with the traditional dress code dropped.
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