Saturday 26 February 2011

Professional Gamblers: J P McManus

J.P. McManus can say among his closest personal friends are the greats like Tiger Woods. He himself is a millionaire several times over. How did he begin?

Well, his extraordinary fortune all began with a race. Originally from Limerick, he is now worth roughly £255m. Most of it has come from his various gambles and foreign currency trades. This makes him Ireland's eighth richest man. McManus now is living in Switzerland and has more than 100 racehorses which he mainly runs in jump races. He also holds a sizable share of Manchester United. In addition, McManus also co-owns the Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados, along with fellow millionaire and former Celtic's major shareholder Dermot Desmond. He got his first tastes of gambling as a schoolboy long before going to work in his family business.

It wasn't long before he got his own betting stand at Limerick's greyhound track. His early trials in the betting ring had earned him the nickname the Sundance Kid. Such is his pulling power that he managed to attract some of golf's biggest names to Limerick for his own tournament, the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am.

Woods, David Duval, Tom Lehman, Lee Janzen, Colin Montgomerie and Mark O'Meara attended in 2000 along with a handful of lucky locals. The tournament itself and the celebrity auction afterwards raised a massive £13m for charity. In fact, McManus' is very generous when it comes to his local charities.

Many of McManus' most memorable exploits have involved his racehorses, especially at Cheltenham. McManus is a National Hunt supporter and his horses race in the green and gold colours of his home GAA club, South Liberties. His best-known horse Istabraq is the triple Champion Hurdle winner. The gelding, which now is retired, became a much-loved figure with Irelands racing fans.

McManus' greatest memory and moment in his racing career he admitted was "This is my greatest moment in racing," admitted McManus was when he won the first of his three Champion Hurdle races with Istabraq. McManus does have one regret, even with all his miraculous accomplishments in racing, he regrets that Limerick has not won an all-Ireland senior hurling title since 1973. So you see there are things that money just can not purchase