Michael Owen kop-a-hoop as Ever Given scores on Chester home turf

Ex-Liverpool footballer Michael Owen, a Chester native, was pleased to see his Ever Given win, giving him the first victory on the Roodee since linking up with Hugo Palmer.

Ex-Liverpool and England footballer turned racing stable owner Michael Owen was over the moon to see Ever Given win for his new retained trainer Hugo Palmer at Chester.

Any win at home city track Chester is a big one for Owen but the victory in the Deepbridge Handicap was more significant as it was the first for Owen since his split with Tom Dascombe.

"We came here with low expectations as Hugo is still getting to know the horses but to get one on the board and in that fashion, we're delighted," said Owen.

"He had a nice draw and Danny (Tudhope) kept it simple, so off top weight that's a nice performance.

"It's great to get off the mark here so early but I've not employed a kid, I've employed someone who has been there and done it. This is for the long-term, however, to have the start we've had is super."

Owen was on duty as a BT Sport pundit at Liverpool's Champions League semi-final versus Villareal on Tuesday evening and rushed straight to Chester specially to watch Palmer's runners.

"My alarm went at 3.30am, I had to fly to Charles De Gaulle as if I'd flown direct it wasn't getting me here until 1pm and I'd have missed the first couple of races.

"I'll be knackered in a couple of hours but I'm all right now. We've Mr McCann running tomorrow too."

Mr McCann goes in the Dee Stakes and has an Epsom Derby entry with Owen hoping a win can stamp his credentials for the Classic on June 4.

The colt is owned by five Liverpool players in James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin and Andy Robertson so the football link is alive and kicking.

"Obviously the Liverpool lads have had other things on their minds of late, but they have been down the yard to see him recently. I do know that when I was a playing racing was a big release," said Owen.

"Now the game is over I'm sure they'll be tuning in, but with the games coming thick and fast, it's inevitable they can't get to the racedays. They have been down to the yard a couple of times and seem like they are enjoying it.

"Just to have a runner in a race like the Dee Stakes with your first horse is some achievement and if he runs well, then the dream is still alive."

Trainer Palmer was slightly taken aback that Ever Given had won so simply in the end.

"He'd been working well some days and only OK some others - but he'd never worked badly so we weren't sure what to expect," he said.

"It has been like that with all the horses we've run, though, as I've only known them six weeks.

"I've been saying to all the owners 'I think we're in the right place and I hope we run well and then we'll make a plan' and most of them have run well to be fair - but none of them quite as well as him!

"He's opened up options for the rest of the year. He doesn't have any entries but if the ground was similar, could he end up going for the Sandy Lane (at Haydock)? I don't know.

"We've quite a few in the same boat with Ebro River, Hierarchy and Flaming Rib and possibly at some stage Dubawi Legend, too, who also might end up being a sprinter. We could be mob-handed in the Haydock Sprint Cup!"

Latest news