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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

James Owen's 'Brown Panther' wins Dubai Gold Cup ~ flying horse !!

For some Dubai is the ultimate destination of luxury… despite Dubai’s fast cars and 12-lane highways, the Arabic passion for all things horse related is alive and in tune with that passion is  ‘horse racing’ touted as the World’s most expensive race. 

Michael James Owen  is a former English footballer who played as a striker for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City as well as the England national team. He is a regular pundit on BT Sport football coverage and sometimes appears on BBC's Match of the Day as a pundit. Since retiring from football he has become a successful racehorse breeder and owner.  His father Terry Owen was also a famous footballer. Regarded as one of the greatest Liverpool players, Owen came 14th in the "100 Players Who Shook The Kop" – an official Liverpool fan poll.

Internationally, Owen first played for the senior England team in 1998, becoming England's youngest player and youngest goalscorer at the time. Michael Owen has always said racing was a sport which ‘tamed lions’ but nothing could stop the former England centre-forward’s Brown Panther on Saturday night after his ‘horse of a lifetime,’ the sole British winner on the $30million Dubai World Cup card at Meydan, won the Dubai Gold Cup.

The $1m race may have been relative small change in comparison to the $10 million World Cup which spectacularly sealed William Buick’s short association with Godolphin after Prince Bishop, their 14-1 second string, romped home in front of headline horse California Chrome. But it was, nevertheless, one of the most valuable two-mile races in the world and gave Owen, trainer Tom Dascombe and jockey Richard Kingscote, only recently back from injury, their biggest pay-day on a racecourse.

Owen naturally was delighted with the performance of Brown Panther.  He said - This is so different from playing football. Really all I do is write the cheque, it’s Richard on top and Tom and the team at home and for that reason I’m more nervous because I feel I cannot influence the result. “Playing football you at least feel like you have a degree of control. It’s an amazing day. I felt I ran the last furlong with him.  Brown Panther winning Dubai Gold Cup netted the Ex- England striker £384,000 (Rs.3.57 crores approx) in prize money.

The seven-year-old, trained by Tom Dascombe at Owen’s Manor House Stable in Cheshire and ridden by Richard Kingscote, was always close to the pace in the two-mile Dubai Gold Cup and quickened to beat Star Empire by a decisive three and a half lengths.  Owen, who won the 2014 Irish St Leger with Brown Panther, said: ‘He is the horse of a lifetime and a superstar in my eyes. That was a tough race – two miles in this heat and he kept on galloping like he did in the final furlong.  The success was also rewarding for Kingscote. He has had a race against time to get fit after suffering a broken collar bone, snapped arm, broke wrist and elbow plus punctured lungs in a fall.

Away from horse racing, here is an interesting story of ‘teaching a horse how to fly’ – though MailOnline attributes it to Paulo Coelho, this appeared decades ago, in Indian vernacular attributed to former Primer Minister PV Narasimha Rao. 

Let us divide the word ‘preoccupation’ into two parts - pre-occupation, that is, occupying your mind with something before it actually happens. This is what worrying is: trying to resolve problems that have not even had time to appear; imagining that things, when they do happen, will always turn out for the worst. Naturally, there are exceptions. One of them is the hero of this little story.

A King condemned a youngman to the gallows.  Once the sentence was pronounced, the man pleaded -  “You are a wise man, Your Majesty, and curious about everything that your subjects do. You respect learned people”; and continued – ‘when I was a child, my grandfather taught me how to make a white horse fly’. Since there is no one else in the whole kingdom who knows how to do this, my life should be spared.”

The king immediately ordered a white horse to be brought.  The man sought two years to be with the animal and King acceded.  The King ordained that in two years, if the horse does not fly, the man will be hung for sure. 

When he reached home, his family was mourning and asked him how he was so mad assuring to fly a horse, when everyone knew that it would never happen.   Never mind, the man said exclaiming that in ‘two years – so many things can happen’.  None ever tried to teach a horse to fly; King is very old and might die in two years and if not the horse itself may not survive this 2 year period’- and there are umpteen outside probabilities. Even if everything were to occur, he still would have had 2 years of extended life !

Horses are always interesting; so does stories involving them !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

30th Mar 2015.

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