The Gold Cup is the feature race of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival. Ferguson is a part-owner of Protektorat, who will head straight to the meeting without another run
Sir Alex Ferguson has finalised plans to land a huge £350,000 jackpot at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
The Manchester United legend is one of the owners of Protektorat, a leading contender for this year’s Gold Cup.
Trained by Dan Skelton, the chaser galloped into contention with a wide margin success at Aintree last month.
Former Gold Cup hero Native River, recently retired by connections, was 25 lengths behind the new horse on the staying scene.
Bookies Paddy Power make him fourth favourite at 10-1 to follow up in the big race at Cheltenham 2022 in March.
The winner will earn connections a cheque for just over £350,000.
Protektorat’s team of owners – Ferguson, John Hales and Lisa Hales plus Ged Mason – have recently been in talks with Skelton.
Instead of giving the seven-year-old a warm-up run, they have jointly decided Cheltenham will come next.
“He’s going to go straight there,” Skelton told Sky Sports Racing.
“I have discussed it with all the owners, me and Harry (Skelton, jockey) have had a good chat about it.
“I would have loved to have gone to Lingfield on Sunday for the 2m 6f race (new Winter Million fixture) but it’s very, very soft ground and we half undid it last year in the winter on real bad ground with him, so I would rather not race this horse and put a negative against even his attitude going into the race.
“I would prefer to do nothing and get nothing wrong rather than do something and go ‘the ground wasn’t perfect’ or whatever and you end up with a slight negative going into what is your biggest day.
“And I believe he is a real competitor. If I just thought he’s not really a Gold Cup horse I would be looking at races like that (Lingfield) and the race at Cheltenham (Trials Day).
“But it’s the fact that he does look a real contender and I’m sure he’ll get the trip. I think he’s been begging for the trip. We have just bided our time before we went there, we didn’t want to put excess miles into him as a young horse.
“Now we are there, his one run at three miles, his opinion is there’s nothing he can’t do.”
Protektorat’s runaway recent win at the longest distance he has raced over came at a lucky track for Ferguson.
Get the latest Cheltenham Gold Cup odds with Grovesnor Sport
The winner of more trophies than any other manager in the history of football enjoyed huge success there at the 2021 Grand National meeting.
Protektorat starred as part of a 62-1 treble, with Clan Des Obeaux scooping the Betway Bowl.
Ferguson hailed it as his “best day” in the sport, which he has been involved in for around 20 years.
That may all change if Protektorat, bidding to improve on fourth and fifth place finishes for Ferguson-owned horses, can deliver on the greatest stage of all.