Footballer Michael Owen to ride competitively for the first time in The Prince’s Countryside Fund Race

Michael Owen is set to make his debut in the saddle in The Prince’s Countryside Fund Charity Race on Friday 24th November 2017 at Ascot Racecourse. Amazingly, he only rode a horse for the first time ever this year.

The former England footballer, capped 89 times, played as a striker for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City during his playing career.

The race would be an enormous challenge for anyone, let alone a novice rider. Despite Michael’s huge passion for the sport and his competitive nature he will need the full support of his yard in his training. Owen, together with his wife Louise, has built Manor House Stables, set in 160 acres of Cheshire countryside, into a five-star purpose built training establishment, which Tom Dascombe has trained from since 2009. Now his training is fully underway, he is confident of tackling the famous seven furlong course in November.

Michael Owen said: "It has been a long-term ambition of mine to learn how to ride and race, but as a professional footballer it was not possible. Now I have set myself the target of competing in The Prince’s Countryside Fund Charity Race on Friday 24th November 2017 at Ascot. It’s a brilliant cause and I can’t wait to get started; it is going to take a lot of hard work over the next few months, but I am really looking forward to it."

The Prince's Countryside Fund was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010 to help secure a brighter future for British farmers and the countryside. Each year it provides over £1.5 million in grants to projects across the UK as well as running its own programmes such as The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme.

Since the first Prince’s Countryside Fund Raceday at Ascot in 2015, over £720,000 has been raised as part of partnership with Ascot Racecourse making this event the biggest in the Charity’s calendar. This year, The Prince’s Countryside Fund Raceday boasts a full card of exciting jump racing alongside a Christmas shopping fair in association with Country Living magazine. All of the proceeds raised at the event and through a special charity luncheon will go to the charity.