For Michael Owen breaking new ground in sport has always been easy, the former Liverpool and England player has won a host of trophies and awards throughout his career and is one of the nation’s most well recognised footballers, but now that he’s retired it is clear that winning is still very much on the agenda.
At around 0400 on Tuesday, the BT Sport commentator and pundit will turn to his other great love, horse-racing, as his horse Brown Panther looks to become the first British trained winner of the Melbourne Cup.
Ever since Owen set up his own training yard at Manor House in Cheshire, he has dreamed of big success on the racecourse and in Brown Panther he has found it, leading the 5-year-old into the winner's enclosure at both Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood as well as taking home almost £320,000 in prize money.
But should he win the Melbourne Cup tomorrow it will be by far his biggest victory, the race is known down-under as the ‘race that stops a nation’ and it comes with a first prize of over $3.5m (£2.08m).
Trained by Tom Dascombe and ridden by stable jockey Richard Kingscote, Brown Panther will break from one of the more favorable stalls, (6), and will be roared on by Owen who has made the trip over to Australia to see the latest leg of an incredible journey, when asked about the race Owen said, as quoted by Sky Sports: 'It's obviously totally different to what I'm used to.
'I've been in horseracing for around 15 years and to have a horse good enough to compete is fantastic - it's what you're in the sport for. It's a famous race around the world. The Australians have come over and won our sprints but maybe we've got the edge in the staying division and we'd love to be the first English winner.'
Following the favorable draw for Brown Panther in the race bookmakers responded by trimming the odds to 16/1 from around 20/1 but there can be no illusion as to the difficulty of the task in hand.
Owen added 'It's a very difficult race, impossible to call, and it looks like one of the strongest Melbourne Cups for a long time, if not ever.'
image: © michael,kjaer