Scots football legend Sir Alex Ferguson has won the treble again – but this time on the race track.
The Govan-born-and-bred retired football manager who won the treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in 1999, during his successful reign as Manchester United boss, has secured another moment to remember on Merseyside.
Scotland’s most successful football manager landed a remarkable 62/1 treble on the opening day of the Aintree Grand National festival, securing a hat-trick with three winners in the opening three races.
He said it was his “best day” at the races, which is a high bar to clear after more than two decades as an owner which have included Rock Of Gibraltar’s seven-race run in Group One races on the Flat and two victories in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park’s famous Boxing Day meeting.
Protektorat, Monmiral and Clan Des Obeaux were all winners for the Scotsman, who was pictured arriving at the Merseyside venue and can enjoy a day to celebrate.
Protektorat, who was sent off at 17/2, got Ferguson’s day off to a flyer with a battling three length success in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase at 13:45 to win the Scotsman £42,202.50.
10/11 favourite Monmiral then made it a double on the day for Ferguson little over half-an-hour later when cruising to a seven length victory in the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.
The four-year-old gelding scooped £42,202.50 for his victory to provide Fergie with two more victories on the biggest stage for horseracing, reminiscent of the 1996 FA Cup victory against Liverpool.
Things then got even better for Fergie as two-time King George winner Clan Des Obeaux produced a dominant performance to win the Aintree Bowl at odds of 5/2.
The Old Trafford legend described winning the first three races at Aintree today as his best day in the sport.
“That’s the best day I’ve had in my time in racing, which is about 20 years or so. It is different to when I was managing my football teams – I was in control of what was going to happen on the pitch, but I’m not in control of that (on the racetrack) as the trainer does all of that and as an owner you hope it goes well. You do get the same excitement when you win big races like that as it does get you very excited.
Speaking about Clan Des Obeaux’s performance, Ferguson added: “It was a fresh approach with the cheekpieces on. He had a three month rest and we ran him right up the front and we gave him plenty of space to run in and I think that all worked. I think he was the best horse in the race anyway.
“Horses like Native River had a hard Gold Cup so it was an advantage (coming here fresh). It’s great, winning is the name of the game. Winning on Merseyside, they will all be happy!”
Sir Alex’s treble will provide a significant boost in confidence ahead of Saturday’s Grand National itself.
Give Me A Copper is Ferguson’s runner in the race, a horse with a 66/1 shot and one that he co-owns alongside four other people.
Sir Alex added: “Give Me A Copper is fresh but the favourite (Cloth Cap), his performance last time was fantastic. If he gets into a rhythm he will enjoy himself and if he takes to the fences we will see where he takes us. I will definitely be coming on Saturday.”
Ferguson took up horseracing ownership during his reign at United and has continued into his retirement, with his most famous horse being The Rock of Gibraltar.