SIR Alex Ferguson has started a new business venture aged 81 – and it could make him millions.
The legendary Manchester United boss has long been a racing fanatic, revealing in a recent interview that it was his dad who got him into the sport.
He is the proud owner of 32 horses and memorably celebrated an amazing hat-trick on Merseyside when three of his runners won at the Aintree Grand National meeting.
But now the iconic footie boss has taken the next step and set up his own stud in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.
The most promising horse so far to come out of his Upperwood Farm Stud – where Fergie is listed as a breeder along with expert horseman Niall McLoughlin – is Spirit Dancer.
The six-year-old gelding is a son of Frankel, widely regarded as the greatest racehorse ever, and could net his owner over half a million quid with victory in Bahrain on Friday.
But for all the riches available on the track, Sir Alex knows the real money is made off it.
Breeding giants Coolmore, Juddmonte and Godolphin rake in hundreds of millions a year combined in stud fees.
Someone like Frankel alone, who is owned by Juddmonte, made £67million in the last mating year.
He charges £350,000 to cover just one mare and has bred hundreds of winners all over the world.
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With figures like that it's no wonder Sir Alex, who recently spoke at Sir Bobby Charlton's funeral, wants a piece of the action.
Speaking in Bahrain, Sir Alex opened up on his new venture and how he finds racing different to football.
He told Racing TV: "I have started a stud down in Hemel Hempstead and that was the first product of the stud with Frankel, with Queen’s Dream too and we have done well, one or two have done very well.
"To be honest, I think my competitive element was left in football.
"I never question the racing trainer or get upset if the horse loses as this is a different sport for me.
"I can’t tell a horse what to do, whereas at least I could tell players what to do so in that respect, I am not a critical person at all. I enjoy being there.
"Of course if you win, then it is really enjoyable being there, particularly big races.
"Spirit Dancer has given us great joy."
Although the issue of horse ownership has been a prickly issue for Sir Alex before.
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He had a huge bust-up with former Man Utd owner and Coolmore head honcho John Magnier over star horse Rock Of Gibraltar.
The row over breeding rights led to a split at the top of the Old Trafford club and, ultimately, to the Glazers taking charge.
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