Michael Owen: Has appointed Hugo Palmer to train at Manor House Stables
Michael Owen: Has appointed Hugo Palmer to train at Manor House Stables

Michael Owen to expand Manor House Stables

Former England international footballer Michael Owen insists he remains "as passionate as ever" about his commitment to horse racing after announcing plans to expand Manor House Stables.

As a proven winner on the pitch, the now retired Liverpool, Real Madrid and Man United striker is excited about developing his Cheshire yard, which is currently occupied by Classic-winning trainer Hugo Palmer, in order to help take it to the next level.

While the installation of a grass gallop and a treadmill remains on the to-do list, Owen has unveiled plans to increase the capacity at the yard by building another barn on the site to further enhance the stable's growing profile.

Owen said: “We have been running Manor House Stables for more than 15 years now and I just feel over the last few years we have been on the up with results, facilities and the owners that have come on board.

“We are pretty full, but there is always room for another barn somewhere, and we are just about to put planning permission in for a new barn so things are looking good.

"There are a lot of things on Hugo’s wish list as he wants treadmills and grass gallops, which is great, as I like pushing the boundaries myself, and he is exactly the same. All in good time, we will continue to improve the facility.

“Things are going really well, and I’m as passionate as ever, and Hugo, and the horses are in great form so it feels like everything is coming together and it's quite exciting.

"I'm the most enthusiastic person in the world, if you don't know me, but I've rarely been as enthused about this other direction the yard is going in as we really feel that we are making great strides at the moment."


Last year saw Palmer saddle 56 domestic winners, amassing more than £900,000 in prizemoney, and Palmer has made a bright start to 2024 after sending out 21 winners, including two at this week’s Craven Meeting at Newmarket. But Owen, who also starred for Newcastle United and Stoke City, is excited about the months ahead with the quality of horses housed at the yard, along with the owners that have joined the roster.

Owen said: “We have got quite good numbers this year. We are well represented with two year-olds as we have about 50, which is a nice number. There is a decent demand at the stables, and a lot of enthusiastic owners. There are a lot of new owners that have joined the team this year.

“I feel like we have got some nice horses this season. We have got L’Astronome, who won a Group Two in France, and we have high hopes for him in staying races. There is obviously Flaming Rib as well, who has been quite successful. He was second in a Commonwealth Cup, and he has won races out in Qatar.

“There is also Kitteridge, who worked at Newmarket on Tuesday, and she holds an entry in the Oaks, so hopefully she will keep going the right way. I guess like every yard we are always wanting that superstar, so the search is always on for that, but we have got some nice horses that will compete in good races.”

Although Manor House Stables does not sit close to any of the major training centres in Britain, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner feels that they are situated in a perfect catchment area to attract new owners.

Owen said: “Our facility is exceptional, and it is a great place for owners to be entertained, and we have a trainer, who is a Classic-winning trainer. We are not in a big training centre so we can almost dominate quite a wealthy area of the country, and a passionate area of the country, for horses.

“Results have been good, and the facilities are good. A whole lot of things are in our favour.”

Football and horse racing have long gone hand-in-hand with plenty of stars from the pitch becoming involved in racehorse ownership while the likes of Mick Channon, Francis Lee and Micky Quinn all enjoyed second careers as trainers to a varying degree of success.

And that theme of footballers being involved with racing is ever present at Manor House Stables, according to Owen.

He added: “The Bitter Moose is owned by all the Liverpool players, while about 11 or 12 of the Brighton team have purchased three two year-olds.

“A few of my television mates, and ex-players, including Paul Scholes and Steve McManaman, are involved in horses, while Sir Alex Ferguson has got a couple with us and the Burnley team have got a horse with us. There is a sprinkling of football ownership in the yard so there should be some competition off the pitch, and we try and stimulate them to do that.”

More from Sporting Life

Safer gambling

We are committed in our support of safer gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.

If you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline / GamCare on 0808 8020 133.

Further support and information can be found at begambleaware.org and gamblingtherapy.org.

Like what you've read?

Next Off

Sporting Life
My Stable
Follow and track your favourite Horses, Jockeys and Trainers. Never miss a race with automated alerts.
Access to exclusive features all for FREE - No monthly subscription fee
Click HERE for more information

Most Followed


We are committed to Safer Gambling and have a number of self-help tools to help you manage your gambling. We also work with a number of independent charitable organisations who can offer help and answers any questions you may have.
Gamble Aware LogoGamble Helpline LogoGamstop LogoGordon Moody LogoSafer Gambling Standard LogoGamban Logo18+ LogoTake Time To Think Logo