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'Downton Abbey' actor joins Highclere syndicate

Actor Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham on the popular television show "Downton Abbey," has joined leading European syndicate Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.

Bonneville, who is also known for his roles in "Notting Hill" and "Twenty Twelve," will be co-owner on two Highclere runners next year. One will be trained by Richard Hannon and the other will be trained by Sir Michael Stoute.

"I am thrilled to become an owner with Highclere," Bonneville said. "I thought it was about time I became properly educated in the Sport of Kings. It's a terrific opportunity and to be able to attend the races as an owner really is very exciting. I can't wait."

Bonneville will be part of Highclere's "Petrushka Syndicate," which owns two soon-to-be two-year-olds. Hannon will train a filly by Fastnet Rock while Stoute will condition a colt by Danehill Dancer.

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing was founded in 1992 by the Hon. Harry Herbert, son of the late seventh Earl of Carnarvon. The Herbert family home, Highclere Castle, is where "Downton Abbey" is filmed. Highclere has campaigned seven champions to date, including Harbinger, a winner of the 2010 Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

"It is great to have Hugh on board as one of our owners at Highclere and we wish him all possible luck with these two lovely yearlings," Herbert said. "Both have fabulous pedigrees and have once again been bought by my brother-in-law, John Warren, whose record is second to none."

Bonneville joins the likes of fellow celebrities Elizabeth Hurley, Lawrence Dallaglio, Denise Lewis, Sir Alex Ferguson and Ben Fogle in becoming a Highclere syndicate partner.



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