Horse Racing

How Cricket World Cup winner Craig Kieswetter launched growing racing operation after career-ending eye injury

ONE-TIME England cricket hero Craig Kieswetter hasn’t taken the usual route into the racing world.

After a nasty eye injury prematurely ended his days as a cricketer in 2015, Kieswetter has found a new buzz.

Kieswetter struggled to see through his right eye
Urban Fox has won at the top level for Kieswetter and team

The former international wicket-keeper and top batsman has settled back in his native South Africa, with two stud farms to keep him busy for good measure.

After a ball flew threw his helmet grille in the summer of 2014, Kieswetter broke his nose and severely damaged his eye-socket.

The Somerset man was struck by a bouncer bowled by England international David Willey in the County Championship.

After emergency surgery, Kieswetter had no choice but to hang up his gloves, recognising he’d never get back to the heights that saw him as a key cog in the England side that triumphed in the memorable World T20 tournament in 2010.

Kieswetter was man-of-the-match as England stuffed the Aussies in the final.

But with his cricket days now behind him, Kieswetter has already made a splash in the racing world.

Ridgemont Highlands in South Africa and Barnane Stud in Ireland have already enjoyed plenty of success.

Group 1-winner Urban Fox has flown the Barnane Flag, striking in the prestigious Pretty Polly Stakes and winning close to £500,000 during her career on the track. And she’ll be worth millions off it.

And the Barnane Stud outfit aren’t mucking around. In 2017 they went to £1.7 million to buy Intricately at auction.

That horse has already produced a colt sold for over a million pounds to the mighty Godolphin empire.

Other horses like Whisky Baron first in South Africa and then for Newmarket trainer William Haggas and My Sister Sarah who has run at the Cheltenham Festival for Willie Mullins have tasted success.

Ridgemont is now home to stallion Canford Cliffs, a five-time top-level and Royal Ascot winner and second to a peak Frankel at Glorious Goodwood.

The 750-acre farm has been in operation since 1965 but was taken over by the Kieswetter family in 2017 and since transformed.

They also stand four other stallions; Pathfork, Jackson, Rafeef and Potala Palace.

Kieswetter also had a crack at the golfing world post-retirement but it looks like the racing bug has got him for good.

It’s been a more than solid start to his latest innings and things are only just getting going.


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