Owen hits target with Brown Panther in Goodwood Cup

Retirement from football has allowed Michael Owen more time to concentrate on racing interests and his beloved Brown Panther offered up his greatest success as an owner to date in the Artemis Goodwood Cup yesterday.

Owen hits target with Brown Panther in Goodwood Cup

The former England international bred Brown Panther from his cherished mare Treble Heights, and his five-year-old has already provided a Royal Ascot victory as well as placing in the St Leger.

There could be a greater challenge to come, with Owen and trainer Tom Dascombe suggesting a tilt at the Emirates Melbourne Cup could be in the offing after he beat a large field of stayers by three and a half lengths.

Starting at two miles for only the second time, Brown Panther (13-2) was not ridden cautiously by Richard Kingscote and secured a healthy advantage a furlong from home, while several of his colleagues were rather too restrained. Notable among those were Eduardo Pedroza, who revealed his inexperience of the course by leaving Altano too much to do as he stayed on for third.

Jamie Spencer was a long way behind aboard Mount Athos turning for home, but he could not trigger much response from the 3-1 favourite and was only eighth.

Owen said: “It’s fabulous, especially as you look at the heritage of this race going back 200 years.

“He hasn’t been over-raced and I suppose there were headlines about him after his win at Ascot, I suppose because of him being associated with me.

“It’s a totally different experience to football, where you feel you’re in some sort of control, it’s in your hands, but this racing game is so tough on the nerves – you’re powerless.

“You send your jockey out to ride and you hope your trainer has got him spot-on. Tom and Richard have done a brilliant job, as well as Andrew Jackson who rides him out every day.”

Looking ahead, Owen said: “We thought about the Melbourne Cup last year and we were thinking about it again this year, prior to this race.

“As long as he didn’t bomb out today we were thinking Irish St Leger and then Melbourne Cup. I haven’t talked to Tom or Bert (Black, joint owner) but I don’t see why we should change our mind.”

Dascombe said: “We probably haven’t done as well as we should have done with him by now.

“I think the horse is helping us because he’s maturing.”

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