Rugby players who love racing

Horse racing is a sport that is loved by people from all walks of life, including international rugby players!

Racing has a big following from many sports, many footballers are often seen going to the races on occasion and rugby players are no different. The players like the rest of us enjoy a good day out at the races.

The top five rugby stars who love racing are both keen racegoers and owners.


Mike Tindall

The 2003 World Cup winner has had a glittering rugby career, he has played 75 times for England and captained the national side.

Credit: PA Images

Tindall married Zara Phillips in 2011, the Queen’s grand-daughter.

Zara Phillips also won sports personality of the year back in 2010 because of her feats in equestrian. Phillips’ career has obviously rubbed off on her husband as Tindall became part of a racing syndicate.

Monbeg Dude was bought accidentally by Tindall when he bid £12,000 for him at Cheltenham in 2010 (thinking someone would out bid him). Tindall managed to convince fellow players at the time James Simpson-Daniel and Nicky Robinson to contribute.

Monbeg Dude won the Welsh Grand National, a grade 1 win at Cheltenham and came third in the Grand National in 2015. Here is the steeplechaser winning the 2012 Welsh National.


Alex Cuthbert

Credit: Huw Evans Picture Agency

The Welsh, Lions and Cardiff Blues wing started his rugby career with a bang, making his Welsh debut at just 21 years old. Although he was in Gloucester city’s football academy, it was show-jumping that he could have made his name.

The country boy rode horses at a young age, Cuthbert travelled around the UK riding in multiple competitions.

Unfortunately due to his rugby commitments he can’t ride but maybe in the future when he has retired from rugby we might see him more involved in racing and show jumping!


James Simpson-Daniel

Credit: Gareth Iwan Jones

The former England and Gloucester winger and centre played rugby from 2001 to 2014, scoring 123 tries in 286 appearances which would have been more had it not been for an injury hit career.

Simpson-Daniel as mentioned before is a part time owner of Monbeg Dude but his interest goes beyond owning a horse!

Simpson-Daniel started a career with a bespoke bookmaker Fitzdares soon after retiring from rugby. Reflecting at the time he says “life after a sports career can be quite a daunting transition, but I’m hoping becoming a bookmaker will mean the odds are in my favour!”

The now retired rugby star explained how his racing interest started and how its become more than just a hobby in an interview back in 2013.


Stephen Jones

Credit: Planet Rugby

Stephen Jones is a Welsh rugby legend, playing over 100 times for Wales and 6 times for the Lions.

Jones has taken an interest in racing since retiring, he is part of a consortium with former Scarlet players Simon Easterby, Regan King and former Scarlets chief executive Stuart Gallacher. The horse they all part own is Ski Sunday.

The Welsh stalwart talks about the excitement he gets from owning a racehorse and the “spine-tingling” buzz of going to places like Cheltenham.

Jones has now become fascinated with studying form and training methods of the horses. He says the training is very similar to his former coaches getting him mentally prepared before a game!


Nicky Robinson

The fly half has played for Wales 13 many times as well as spells at Oyonnax, Bristol, Wasps and Gloucester.

The part owner of Monbeg Dude said “We have had some truly incredible days with Dude”. After coming third in the Grand National, Robinson said it is “the most famous horse race in the world – and to finish third in it is amazing”.

Robinson is on the far left with James Simpson-Daniel and their horse Monbeg Dude.

Credit: Wales Online