Ferguson refuses to pick Arsenal or Man City for the title

‘I’m not interested’: Sir Alex Ferguson refuses to pick Arsenal or Man City for the Premier League title… before the Man United legend watches his horse Hermes Allen beaten in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham

  • Former Manchester United boss was interview in the parade ring ahead of first
  • Watched on as his co-owned Hermes Allen – the starting favourite – was beaten
  • LIVE BLOG: Follow all the Festival’s Day Two action as it happens with Sportsmail 

Sir Alex Ferguson refused to give an answer when asked who would win the Premier League out of Arsenal or Manchester City ahead of watching his own Hermes Allen beaten in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. 

The former Manchester United boss is an avid horse racing fan and has three runners this week – including Hitman in Thursday’s Ryanair Chase and Protektorat in Friday’s Gold Cup, the week’s showpiece race. 

Prior to watching Hermes Allen, who he co-owns with friends and had gone off as the favourite, beaten in the first race of the day, Ferguson was briefly interviewed by ITV Racing’s Matt Chapman in the parade ring. 

Asked by Chapman, rather bravely perhaps, who he would like to see win the Premier League out of Arsenal or Manchester City, Ferguson responded curtly. ‘Not interested,’ he said. 

Accosted by Chapman, who joked the one person you did not want to door-stop was the fiery Scot, Ferguson was asked what he thought about Hermes Allen being ‘smashed in’ in the betting. 

Sir Alex Ferguson was interviewed at Cheltenham ahead of watching Hermes Allen beaten

Hermes Allen had gone off favourite and kept pace but was beaten for stamina as the horses came round the bend

‘Smashed?’ he responded, with something of a perplexed look etched across his face. 

‘We’re very excited about it and it’s a really good horse. We’re confident,’ he went on to add. 

Following one of the most emotional day’s in the Festival’s recent memory, Ferguson cited the emotionally charged triumph of Honeysuckle. 

Rachael Blackmore was riding the mare in its last race, and it comes after trainer Henry De Bromhead’s son died last year in a racing accident. Blackmore herself paid tribute to the trainer’s late son when still aboard the horse after the victory.

Ferguson refused to pick winner out of Arsenal or Manchester City for the Premier League title

Pep Guardiola will be hoping to overhaul Arsenal as the season enters its final straight

Impaire Et Passe for Willie Millins and Paul Townend on board romped to a victory in the first

‘Unbelievable, that Honeysuckle was… I don’t think anyone was left without a tear,’ Ferguson said. ‘The jockeying and training, fabulous.’

In the first race of the day, Ferguson and his co-owners were left disappointed as the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding Hermes Allen failed to deliver on its pre-race promise. 

Having drifted out in the betting markets, money had come for it on the morning of the race to see him go off at 5/2. However, caught in behind the slipstream, it struggled to keep up with Impaire Et Passe, who gave Willie Mullins yet another Festival triumph.

Ferguson’s hopes of success now rest on Hitman on Thursday and Protektorat on Friday, two rather un-fancied chances.  

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