Historically, horse racing has been immensely popular among a wide array of different sporting stars.
From Dustin Martin to Sir Alex Ferguson, many iconic figures have turned to racing at various stages of their careers. In recent times, this has been increasingly evident among cricketers. So, let’s take a look at which on-field players have sought to further their involvement in horse racing.
Over the last few years, Australia’s Steve Smith has been in the headlines for numerous different reasons. That said, outside of cricket, the now 30-year-old batsman has expanded his sporting horizons in recent times. Although he is most well-known for his contributions to the field-based sport, the Sydney-born star is one of many contemporary cricketers that have become in the ever-growing spectacle that is horse racing.
In 2016, Smith’s part-owned horse, Hogmanay, claimed victory in the Bankstown Sports Clubs Handicap 2000-meter race. According to reports by Nine.com, the former Australia captain owns the horse with fellow cricketer, Moises Henriques, while Chris Waller trains Hogmanay. The venture into racing has proved fruitful to the 30-year-old, with his thoroughbred recording approximately £500,000 in prize money throughout its career.
Although they have often been on-field rivals, Smith’s love of horse racing is mirrored by England’s 33-year-old bowler, Stuart Broad. Since turning professional, Broad has enjoyed a successful career in cricket thus far, as, at the time of writing, he sits as England’s second-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket. For his 31st birthday, the Nottingham-born right-arm fast-medium bowler attended Royal Ascot with a host of other English cricket stars, including Eoin Morgan, whose team are currently priced at 4/1 to win the T20 World Cup in the cricket betting, and James Anderson.
Broad, along with Anderson and Morgan, is a part-owner of Elysium Dream, a five-year-old filly. To date, the Racing Cricketers’ horse has, much like its owners, been successful in its respective field. Since the Richard Hannon-trained horse began competing in 2015, Elysium Dream has recorded an average winning prize money total of £31,238. During Broad’s 31st birthday celebrations, the owners saw their horse cross the line in fifth place during the Cheltenham Stakes back in 2017.
In addition to the above names, Ricky Ponting has also sought to get into the world of horse racing in recent years. Over the last two decades, the former captain of Australia’s national team has commonly been involved in racing on the Australian circuit. As per a report by Racing.com, in 2005, Ponting’s horse, Bear’s Command, won the O’Brien Optical 3YO Maiden Plate. Following his love of racing, the now 45-year-old has recently got his wife into the sport, as Rianna now has her own horse, named Need New Friends.
Moreover, many years on from Ponting’s ventures into racing with Bear’s Command, the man who is widely regarded as the most successful captain in the history of international cricket continues to enjoy the thrill of the racecourse. Along with Mark Waugh, Ponting now owns Forget, who, according to Great British Racing, secured three wins from eight races back in August 2017.
Building for the Future?
Due to the physicality of cricket, it’s impossible to play the sport at the highest level for a vast period of time after your peak years. Although Broad and Smith still compete, Ponting’s love of horse racing has given him a new focus in his post-cricket days. The sport still ensures a similar sense of competitiveness that is evident within the field-based game but without the intense training and physical demands. Fundamentally, racing has, as highlighted from the above examples, provided a diverse avenue for cricketers to utilise to further their sporting reputations.