Michael Owen runner-up on race-riding debut

Michael Owen (left) and Maurice McCarthy (third left) before the race
Michael Owen (left) and Maurice McCarthy (third left) before the race
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Former England striker Michael Owen finished second on his debut in the saddle in a charity race at Ascot, in which Blackpool rider Maurice McCarthy came fifth.

Owen, 37, who also starred for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United in his playing days, was one of 10 amateur riders to take part in the seven-furlong contest in aid of the Prince's Countryside Trust.

Partnering the Tom Dascombe-trained Calder Prince, Owen made his move rounding the home turn and briefly hit the front, but ultimately had to make do with the runner-up spot behind Golden Wedding, in the hands of Tom Chatfield-Roberts.

McCarthy, 49, stayed on late on his mount Mr Red Clubs to claim fifth place.

McCarthy reflected: “It was a fantastic race and my horse could not have run any better given the rating he had compared to other runners in the race.
“I brought Michael to the track in the morning and we walked the course together before the race and I am pleased with how it went for him.”
The race was run in aid of the Prince’s Countryside Fund - Prince Charles, no mean amateur rider himself, and the Duchess Of Cornwall were present at the track to talk to the riders.
McCarthy, a former rugby player, said: “I had a long chat with the Prince, who said he had heard all about my riding exploits and hoped I would be back riding in the race next year. I’m looking forward to that already.”

Owen, who was presented with a memento after the race by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, said: "The horse was great and I'm really pleased with how it's gone. I can't keep the smile off my face, I loved it.

"They seemed to go really quick, it was the fastest I've ever been on a horse, but the horse slowed into the back and whipped up on the inside and all of a sudden I was in front - I was thinking 'come on now'. But that was a long way (out) and I got very tired in the last furlong.

"It was such good fun and I'm really pleased with the whole outcome. My horse ran a cracking race and I'm delighted to be second.

"I'd like to think plenty of good will come out of it, lots of money raised for charity.

"We're all home in one piece and I had the time of my life."