RACING enthusiast Chris Patten was in for a shock when he learned the identity of the new co-owners of his race horse.
Premiership footballer Wayne Rooney has teamed-up with his former Manchester United teammate John O’Shea to buy a majority share in a Dutch Art two-year-old colt.
And the horse they chose was already partially owned by North East-based racing syndicate ontoawinner, which is run by five men, including Chris.
Chris, from Cramlington, Northumberland, said that when they bought the shares, he was told that two other people were interested in the rest but he wasn’t told who.
So when he got the phone call to reveal who his new co-owners were, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
Chris, 42, who lives with his partner Helen, said: “We were just in the right place at the right time, I think. We’re a small syndicate, which has been around for about a year. We have bought various bits of horses.
“We went to a trainer’s yard called Karl Burke in Middleham and leased one of the horses and bought a share in another. It was then that Karl Burke said he had someone else interested in the rest of the share, but he didn’t tell us who.
“He did eventually say it was two footballers but I never imagined it would be those two. I was in the garden when I got the call and I nearly fell off the sun lounger.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine we’d end up co-owning a horse with Wayne Rooney and John O’Shea. It was a big, big shock but we’re over-the-moon to associated with them.”
As they owned the majority share, the responsibility of naming the horse fell on the shoulders of Rooney and O’Shea, who currently plays for Sunderland, and they finally decided on Yourartisonfire.
Chris has always been interested in horse racing and decided to set-up the syndicate with three others last year. You could never buy a horse out-right, unless you had the money of the likes of Wayne Rooney”, said Chris. “So, we decided a syndicate would be an affordable way of having ownership in a horse.
“We’ve already had eight winners, so it’s all good. The horse we have with Wayne and John hasn’t run yet, but we’re expecting it to soon.
“I’m thrilled to have Wayne and John as owners in the yard.
“I bought this colt as a yearling at the Doncaster Sales and trained his brother, who was a very fast two-year-old.
“They wanted a colt who was ready to go and this one fits the bill nicely. Hopefully we can get Wayne off the mark.”
Earlier this month, Rooney watched his debut runner, Pippy, finish last of eight on his debut in the Lily Agnes Stakes at Chester and Tomway.
A second colt of his trained by Tom Dascombe, has failed to impress in two runs, beating just three horses home.
He also has an unraced colt named Switcharooney with Mr Dascombe, whose stables are owned by Rooney’s former Manchester United teammate, Michael Owen.
Anyone interested in buying a share in a racehorse with ontoawinner should go to www.ontoawinner.net.
Chris will be visiting Karl Burke’s Spigot Lodge stables on Saturday. Anyone interested in joining him, email firstname.lastname@example.org