London - Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has become the latest English footballer to take up a direct involvement in racing by buying a horse set to go into training with Tom Dascombe.
Dascombe's yard in Cheshire, north-west England, has been backed financially by Rooney's United team-mate and fellow England forward Michael Owen, whose Brown Panther was the stable's star during this year's English flat season, with the colt winning at Royal Ascot.
"I can confirm that Wayne and Coleen (Rooney's wife) have bought a horse," a spokesman for Dascombe said Monday.
"I can't confirm all the details as yet as it's very early stages.
"He's been down here and obviously liked what he saw and he's bought a yearling to go into training with us next year."
There have long been a number of links between English football and horse racing with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson one of several owners who are, or have been, involved in soccer.
But the best known example of a footballer enjoying success in horse racing is Mick Channon.
A good enough forward to score 21 goals in 46 England appearances during the 1970s, Southampton great Channon has since become one of English flat racing's leading trainers with the 63-year-old saddling several Group One winners.