Spirit Dancer Ready to Shine in Saudi Arabia for Fahey and Ferguson

Spirit Dancer, the horse co-owned by legendary former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, is set to compete in the Neom Turf Cup in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. The horse, trained by Richard Fahey, is coming off a memorable win in the Bahrain International Trophy in November, and is hoping to repeat the feat in Riyadh.

Fahey, who is based in North Yorkshire, said he was “humbled” when he first got the opportunity to train horses for Ferguson, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever British sportsmen. Fahey said he had some “fantastic conversations” with Ferguson, and that he could see why he had been so successful.

“He is just a wonderful man and you can see why he has been a success,” Fahey said. “He has a huge passion for racing and he loves his horses.”

Spirit Dancer is co-owned by bookmaker Fred Done and Ferguson’s close friend, Ged Mason, with whom he is involved with most of his horses. Fahey said the trio had been enjoying the journey with Spirit Dancer, who has given them “a huge amount of pleasure”.

“It’s a humbling experience but it’s amazing because even this morning we were discussing footballers and horses and Sir Alex was asking why we didn’t canter on the grass,” Fahey said. “It’s all stuff of dreams, which is becoming a reality when we get to run on Saturday.”

The preparation and the expectation

Spirit Dancer, a 7-year-old gelding, had a prep run in Dubai last month, where he finished fifth in a handicap race. Fahey said he felt the horse would need the run, and that he had improved since then.

“I’m very pleased with him and at the moment I wouldn’t swap my fella,” Fahey said.

The Neom Turf Cup is a 2,100-meter race with a prize money of $2 million. It is part of the Saudi Cup, the world’s richest horse racing event, which features eight races with a total purse of $30.5 million.

Spirit Dancer will face some tough competition, including the likes of True Self, the Irish mare who won the Neom Turf Cup last year, and Channel Maker, the American horse who was named the champion turf male in the US last year.

Fahey said he was confident that Spirit Dancer could handle the challenge, and that he was looking forward to the race.

“It’s fantastic here, we are well looked after and the horse is happy. When you come on these trips the most important thing is how the horse is and the horse is in good order,” Fahey said.

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