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John Magnier (born 10 February 1948) is Ireland's leading thoroughbred stud owner and has extensive business interests outside of the horse breeding industry.

Magnier has also been a Senator in the upper house of the Irish Parliament, Seanad Éireann. He is based at Coolmore Stud at Fethard in County Tipperarymarker, often regarded as one of the world's pre-eminent stallion stations, and a nursery of thoroughbreds.

Early life

The son of a County Cork land owner, Magnier was born in Fermoymarker, County Corkmarker, and received his formal education at Glenstal Abbey in County Limerickmarker but had to leave school at 15 on the death of his father to take charge of the family estate near Fermoy. He showed a remarkable talent for matching bloodlines from an early age and soon gained a reputation as an up and coming stallion master. He later moved to Fethard, County Tipperarymarker, where he transformed Coolmore Stud into a multi-million Euro international business. The business is headquartered in County Tipperary where a number of other stud farms are part of an extensive network which includes Longfield and Castlehyde studs. The operation also has branches in Versailles, Kentuckymarker and at Jerry's Plains in New South Walesmarker, Australia.

John Magnier began his association with Coolmore in partnership with his father-in-law and champion racehorse trainer, Vincent O'Brien, and Vernon’s Pools magnate, Robert Sangster. They developed the best racing horses and breeding stock, mainly by purchasing the progeny of the great Canadian stallion Northern Dancer. Their forays to the bloodstock auctions at Keeneland Sales furthered their rising stock at home. Eventually, John Magnier came to head the operation and thus began an upward spiral of success. His racing empire, which became arguably the most successful on the planet, is nowadays powered by a huge string of blue-blooded thoroughbreds trained at Ballydoyle by Aidan O'Brien, plus dozens of others in the care of a number of other trainers.

Champion sires to have stood at Coolmore include the incomparable Sadler's Wells (retired from stud duties in 2008) who was champion sire of Europe on 14 occasions, though his success in his later years was somewhat eclipsed by the astonishing exploits of three other Coolmore stallions, namely Danehill and his own sons Galileo and Montjeu. Other notable Group 1 winners who have turned successfully to stud duties are Danehill Dancer and Giant's Causeway.

Less successful at Coolmore was George Washington, winner of the 2,000 Guineas and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2006. George Washington proved infertile, was returned to racing, and suffered a fatal breakdown in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic. George Washington was replaced at stud by another son of Danehill, Holy Roman Emperor, removed from training at the start of his three-year-old season. The strength of thoroughbred talent residing at Coolmore is indicated by the fact that nine of the eleven winners of the blue riband of the turf, the Epsom Derby, between 1998 and 2008 were sired by Coolmore stallions (High Estate, Fairy King, Grand Lodge, Sadler's Hill (twice), Danehill, Montjeu (twice) and Galileo).

Personal life

He is married to Susan, the daughter of Vincent O'Brien, Irish trainer of racehorses. The couple have five children: Tom, John Paul (JP), Michael Vincent (MV), Sam and Katie. While the sons have already made their mark in the business, Katie was married in August 2002 to trainer David Wachman in a high profile ceremony in the Augustinian Abbey of Fethard.

Business ventures

Outside the equine business, John Magnier has proven to be an astute investor and together with associates J. P. McManus, Dermot Desmond, Joe Lewis, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith has enjoyed phenomenal success. A high profile venture was his stake of 28.89 per cent shareholding in the famous football club, Manchester United F.C., which was sold in May 2005 to Malcolm Glazer, an Americanmarker businessman. A personal friendship with manager Alex Ferguson was tested in a dispute over bloodstock rights to prolific Group 1 winner (seven wins) Rock of Gibraltar which currently stands at Coolmore.

John Magnier is said to be the most influential man in horseracing and breeding worldwide, even over Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. While his fortune is in the realms of speculation, The Sunday Times Rich List estimated his wealth at €1 billion (£800 million), although this is very conservative. Coolmore Stud is valued at more than €4 billion alone not to mention his extensive personal property empire across the world and other investments and holdings.




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