Mike Dean goes crazy at the races as ex-Premier League ref’s horse comes second

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    Former referee Mike Dean never had a horse in the race when he was overseeing matches in the Premier League – but that wasn't the case at Doncaster on Thursday.

    The ex-official could afford to ditch impartiality when he was seen cheering on Jump The Gun – in whom he owns a share – in the afternoon's opening race. Unfortunately for him, the 14/1 shot was pipped to the post in the Meriel Tufnell Apprentice Handicap and finished a neck behind.

    But that didn't stop fans revelling in his display as Dean cheered jockey William Pyle to the line, not that it had any help in forcing a winning result. Still, it was enough to pull in a payday of £5,500 for he and his partners in the 'Let's Be Lucky Racing 26' syndicate.

    No stranger to the odd bit of last-gasp drama from his days officiating superstars in England's top flight, the 55-year-old shook hands and sped off to the enclosure once the result was final. And Dean has quickly made piece with the narrow defeat before talking to ITV Racing's Matt Chapman.

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    "Fantastic, I thought he hasn't run that well this year," said the former Premier League shot-caller with a grin on his face. "He's had a few problems with joints and things and had the wind operation as well, put the blinkers on today for the first time and ran a cracker so very pleased.

    "I thought he was just gonna get there, but he ran a good race. [I'm] made up."

    Asked whether he takes a leading hand in how the horse is trained given his history being in charge of sporting matters, Dean smiled as he said: "No, I don't touch the trainer at all. . ."

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    The once-divisive official spent 22 years refereeing fixtures in the Premier League, as well as overseeing FA Cup and League Cup finals during his on-field career. Dean made his first-tier debut in 2000 and hung up his boots last year but has since taken a spot on Sky Sports' new-look Soccer Saturday panel.

    His days close to the action may be over, but a dip into the racing market has given him new cause for excitement on the weekends. Dean revealed he's been a part of Jump The Gun's syndicate for the past year or so after investing in three horses.

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    "[It's a] good hobby, good to get out with the wife now, so we get to the races at least once a month. So it's ideal."

    Dean also paid tribute to legendary jockey Frankie Dettori, who rides in his final Classic in the UK on Saturday, the Betfred St Leger, by signing a giant card made for him by the race sponsors, writing: “What a man. Good Luck. Mike Dean."

    Chapman noted the racing interests of former peers Sir Alex Ferguson and Harry Redknapp, each of whom have long been into their horses.

    The retired managers each own a stable of talents in the sport and are often seen in the enclosure during big race days.

    Dean may even come to call the pair his adversaries in future provided all goes to plan for at least one of his co-owned colts. Jump The Gun missed the mark at Doncaster, but it may only be a matter of time before Dean finds himself in the winners' circle.

    • Premier League
    • Horse racing

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