John Magnier

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John Magnier
Born (1948-02-10) 10 February 1948 (age 70)
Fermoy, Co. Cork
Residence County Tipperary, Ireland
Geneva, Switzerland
London, England
Marbella, Spain [1]
Occupation Coolmore Stud
Net worthIncrease2.svg€2.3 billion (2018) [2]
Spouse(s) Susan Magnier
Children JP, MV, Tom, Katie, Sam

John Magnier (born 10 February 1948; also known as "The Boss") [3] is an Irish business magnate. He is Ireland's leading thoroughbred stud owner and has extensive business interests outside the horse-breeding industry.

Business magnate entrepreneur who has achieved wealth and prominence from a particular industry (or industries)

A business magnate or industrialist is an entrepreneur of great influence, importance, or standing in a particular enterprise or field of business. The term characteristically refers to a wealthy entrepreneur or investor who controls, through personal business ownership or dominant shareholding position, a firm or industry whose goods or services are widely consumed. Such individuals may also be called czars, moguls, proprietors, tycoons, taipans, barons, or oligarchs.

Thoroughbred Horse breed developed for racing

The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered "hot-blooded" horses that are known for their agility, speed, and spirit.

Stud (animal) registered animal retained for breeding

A stud animal is a registered animal retained for breeding. The terms for the male of a given animal species usually imply that the animal is intact—that is, not castrated—and therefore capable of siring offspring. A specialized vocabulary exists for de-sexed animals and those animals used in grading up to a purebred status.


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 Tipperary, considered one of the world's pre-eminent stallion stations, and a nursery of thoroughbreds.

Seanad Éireann upper house of the Irish Oireachtas

Seanad Éireann is the upper house of the Oireachtas, which also comprises the President of Ireland and Dáil Éireann.

Coolmore Stud, in Fethard, County Tipperary in Ireland, is headquarters of the world's largest breeding operation of thoroughbred racehorses. Through its racing arm, Ballydoyle, Coolmore also has raced many classic winners and champions. The operation is currently owned and run by the Magnier family, which has been associated with a long sequence of top-class stallions since the 1850s, originally in Co Cork, Ireland where stallions still stand as part of Coolmore today.

Fethard, County Tipperary Town in Munster, Ireland

Fethard is a small town in County Tipperary, Ireland. It is located 16 km (9.9 mi) east of Cashel on the Clashawley River where the R692, R689 and R706 regional roads intersect. It is a civil parish in the barony of Middle Third. It is part of the ecclesiastical parish of "Fethard and Killusty" in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. In 2006, its population was 1,374.


Early life

The son of a County Cork land owner, Magnier was born in Fermoy, County Cork, and received his formal education at Glenstal Abbey in County Limerick but had to leave school at 15 on the death of his father [4] to take charge of the family estate near Fermoy.

Fermoy Town in Munster, Ireland

Fermoy is a town on the River Blackwater in east County Cork, Ireland. As of the 2016 census, the town and environs had a population of approximately 6,500 people. It is located in the barony of Fermoy.

County Cork County in the Republic of Ireland

County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is the largest and southernmost county of Ireland, situated in the province of Munster and named after the city of Cork, Ireland's second-largest city. The Cork County Council is the local authority for the county. Its largest market towns are Mallow, Macroom, Midleton, and Skibbereen. In 2016, the county's population was 542,868, making it the third-most populous county in Ireland. Notable Corkonians include Michael Collins, Jack Lynch, and Sonia O'Sullivan.

Glenstal Abbey

Glenstal Abbey is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of the Annunciation located in Murroe, County Limerick. It is dedicated to Saint Joseph and Saint Columba. The current abbot of the monastery is Brendan Coffey.


Magnier later moved to Fethard, County Tipperary, 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, Kentucky and at Jerrys Plains, New South Wales, Australia.

County Tipperary County in the Republic of Ireland

County Tipperary is a county in Ireland. It is located in the province of Munster. The county is named after the town of Tipperary, and was established in the early thirteenth century, shortly after the Norman invasion of Ireland. The population of the county was 159,553 at the 2016 census. The largest towns are Clonmel, Nenagh and Thurles.

Versailles, Kentucky City in Kentucky, United States

Versailles is a home rule-class city in Woodford County, Kentucky, United States and is located near Lexington. It is part of the Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 8,568 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Woodford County. The city's name is pronounced vər-SAYLZ, not like the French city of the same name.

Jerrys Plains is a village in the Hunter Region in New South Wales, Australia about 33 kilometres west of Singleton on the Golden Highway. The surrounding countryside is home to some substantial horse-breeding properties, notably the Australian branch of Ireland's giant Coolmore Stud, as well as viticulture and coal mining.

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.

Vincent O'Brien was an Irish race horse trainer from Churchtown, County Cork, Ireland. In 2003 he was voted the greatest influence in horse racing history in a worldwide poll hosted by the Racing Post. In earlier Racing Post polls he was voted the best ever trainer of national hunt and of flat racehorses. He trained six horses to win the Epsom Derby, was twice British champion trainer, won three Grand Nationals in succession and trained the only British Triple Crown winner since the Second World War. Aidan O'Brien took over the Ballydoyle stables after his retirement.

Robert Edmund Sangster was a British businessman, thoroughbred racehorse owner and breeder. Sangster's horses won 27 European Classics and more than 100 Group One races, including two Epsom Derbys, four Irish Derbys, two French Derbys, three Prix de l'Arc de Triomphes, as well as the Breeders' Cup Mile and the Melbourne Cup. He was British flat racing Champion Owner five times.

Northern Dancer Canadian-bred Thoroughbred racehorse

Northern Dancer was a Canadian-bred Thoroughbred racehorse that won the 1964 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and then became one of the most successful sires of the 20th century. He is considered a Canadian icon, and was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1965. Induction into the Racing Hall of Fame in both Canada and the United States followed in 1976. As a competitor, The Blood-Horse ranks him as one of the top 100 U.S. Thoroughbred champions of the 20th century. A sire of sires, he has been called the leading male-line progenitor of modern Thoroughbreds worldwide.

Champion sires to have stood at Coolmore include the incomparable Sadler's Wells who was leading sire (by prizemoney won) in Great Britain and Ireland in 14 of the 15 years between 1990 and 2004, 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, Giant's Causeway, and Epsom Derby winner High Chaparral.

Sadler's Wells was a thoroughbred racehorse who was bred in the United States but raced in Europe, winning the 1984 Irish 2000 Guineas, Eclipse Stakes and Phoenix Champion Stakes. He also finished second in the Prix du Jockey Club and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He was named the champion miler in France, and was rated sixth overall in the International Classification for 1984.

Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland

The title of champion, or leading, sire of racehorses in Great Britain and Ireland is awarded to the stallion whose offspring have won the most prize money in Britain and Ireland during the flat racing season. The current champion is Galileo, who achieved his ninth title in 2017, when his progeny won over £15 million in prize money.

Danehill (horse) racehorse

Danehill was a Thoroughbred racehorse who was bred in the United States. During his stud career, Danehill became a champion sire on both sides of the Equator. He is the most successful sire of all time with 349 stakes winners and 89 Group/Grade I winners. He was the leading sire in Australia nine times, the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland three times, and the leading sire in France twice.

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 eleven of the fifteen winners of the blue riband of the turf, The Derby, between 1998 and 2012 were sired by Coolmore stallions (High Estate, Fairy King, Grand Lodge, Sadler's Wells (two), Danehill, Montjeu (four) and Galileo).

Other 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 American 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 horse racing and breeding worldwide, even over Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. While his fortune is in the realms of speculation, The Sunday Independent estimated his wealth at €2.3 billion in 2018, [5] although this is conservative as Coolmore Stud is valued at more than €4 billion alone, in addition to his personal property portfolio and other investments and holdings. [6]

Personal life

He is married to Susan, the daughter of Irish racehorse-trainer Vincent O'Brien. The couple have five children: Tom, John Paul (JP), Michael Vincent (MV), Sam and Katie. Whereas 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.

Related Research Articles

Rock of Gibraltar (horse) race horse

Rock of Gibraltar (IRE) is a Champion racehorse and stallion owned by Coolmore. The horse stands in Ireland during the Northern Hemisphere breeding season, and Australia as a "shuttle stallion" during the Southern Hemisphere breeding season.

Galileo (horse) racehorse

Galileo is a retired Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire. In a racing career which lasted from October 2000 until October 2001 he ran eight times and won six races. He is best known for winning The Derby, Irish Derby Stakes, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2001 and for his rivalry with the Godolphin champion Fantastic Light. Since his retirement, Galileo has become one of the leading sires in the world and is the sire of multiple champions including Frankel, New Approach, Australia and Minding.

Ballydoyle is a racehorse training facility located in County Tipperary in Ireland. It is a sister thoroughbred facility to Coolmore Stud, and both are owned by John Magnier, son in law to the racehorse trainer Vincent O'Brien. The current trainer at Ballydoyle is Aidan O'Brien, who succeeded Vincent O'Brien in 1995. The current stable retained jockey is Ryan Moore.

Holy Roman Emperor, is a retired Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire. He was a leading two-year-old racehorse, winning four races from seven runs in Europe in 2006.

Dylan Thomas is a retired Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire. In a racing career which lasted from June 2005 until December 2007, he ran twenty times and won ten races. After winning two minor races in 2005 he improved to become one of the leading European three-year-olds of 2006, winning the Irish Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes as well as finishing a close third in The Derby. In 2007 he won three of Europe's most important weight-for-age races, taking the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, a second Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. His performances led to his being named European Horse of the Year in 2007.

Scorpion is an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. As a three-year-old in 2005 he won the Grand Prix de Paris and the St. Leger Stakes. In 2007 he won the Coronation Cup.

Milan (horse) racehorse

Milan, is a retired Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire who was bred in Britain but trained in Ireland. In a career which lasted from October 2000 until May 2002, he ran ten times and won three races. He recorded his most important success when winning the Classic St. Leger Stakes as a three-year-old in 2001. In the same year also won the Great Voltigeur Stakes and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He was retired after being injured in his only race as a four-year-old.


Shahtoush was an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare best known for winning The Oaks in 1998. In a racing career which lasted from August 1997 to September 1998 the filly ran eleven times and won three races. Shahtoush won only one minor race as a two-year-old, but showed top-class form when she finished third in the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes. In 1998 she finished second in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse and then returned to England to win the Classic Oaks over one and a half miles at Epsom. She was beaten in her two remaining races, finishing unplaced in the Yorkshire Oaks and the Irish Champion Stakes.

Roderic OConnor (horse)

Roderic O'Connor is an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse. He won the Criterium International as a two-year-old and the Irish 2000 Guineas as a three-year-old. He is owned by Mrs John Magnier and was trained by Aidan O'Brien. He now stands as a stallion at Ballyhane Stud.

Wing Commander Timothy Ashmead Vigors was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot and flying ace during the Second World War, serving in the Battle of Britain and in the Far East. In civilian life, Vigors began the development of the Coolmore Stud that went on to transform the breeding of thoroughbred racehorses.

Halfway to Heaven (horse)

Halfway to Heaven is a retired Irish-bred Thoroughbred racehorse and an active broodmare. After winning one minor race as a two-year-old in 2007, she emerged as one of the leading fillies in Europe the following year, recording Group One successes in the Irish 1000 Guineas, Nassau Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes. She was retired from racing at the end of the year having won four of her nine races.

Again (horse)

Again was an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. She was one of the leading Irish two-year-old fillies of 2008, when she won three of her five races including the Debutante Stakes and the Moyglare Stud Stakes. She recorded her most important win when taking the Irish 1,000 Guineas on her three-year-old debut, but was beaten in her three subsequent races.

Tate Gallery was an American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. A full-brother to Sadler's Wells he won two of his five races in a track career which lasted from August 1985 until May 1986. As a two-year-old he finished unplaced in the Phoenix Stakes on his debut before winning a maiden race and then recorded his biggest victory in the National Stakes. In the following spring he ran third in the Gladness Stakes and then finished last in the 2000 Guineas before being retired from racing. In a brief stud career he sired several good winners, most notably Lyric Fantasy.

Spartacus was an Irish-bred Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. He showed his best form as a two-year-old in 2002 when he ran in four different countries and recorded Group 1 victories in the Phoenix Stakes and the Gran Criterium. He failed to show any worthwhile form in the following year and was retired to stud. He stood as a breeding stallion in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia and had modest success as a sire of winners. He died in 2012 at the age of twelve.

Necklace is a British, Irish-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. She had her greatest success as a two-year-old in 2003 when she won two of her four races including the Debutante Stakes and the Moyglare Stud Stakes. In the following year failed to win but did finish third in the Beverly D. Stakes and fourth in the Epsom Oaks before being retired from racing with a record of two wins from nine starts in four different counties. She had very little success as a broodmare, producing only one minor winner.


  1. "Ireland's Rich List 2012". Sunday Independent. 11 March 2012.
  3. "Charles Haughey & John Magnier".
  4. John Magnier Bio Archived 8 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine .
  5. Reynolds, John; Webb, Nick (30 March 2008). "€4bn value put on Magnier's Coolmore Stud". Irish Independent.