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Meet the Former Barclays Exec in New York Turned Racehorse Owner Rich Ricci

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  • Digital Team 

Some people in life have the tag ‘flamboyant’ bestowed upon them, without necessarily really fitting the brief.

But larger-than-life characters such as Rich Ricci are very much of the ilk required – even the name, which is completely genuine, is steeped in flair… not to mention appropriateness, given his estimated net worth of $125 million.

From investment banking in New York to racehorse owning in the UK, Ricci’s flamboyance requires little in the way of introduction.

(Not) Having a ‘Mare

Ricci could saddle more than a dozen runners at the Cheltenham Festival, such is the scale of his UK racing operation.

Of them, Lossiemouth heads the betting at Cheltenham for the Mares’ Hurdle, for which she is as short as -300 to land Ricci another winner at the famous meeting, ahead of Ashroe Diamond (+400), Brighterdaysahead (+800) and Love Envoi (+1000).

The Cheltenham Festival tips columns have also been bullish about the chances of Gaelic Warrior, who Ricci has entered at the early declarations stage for the Arkle and Turners Novices’ Chase.

Ricci, who runs his horses under the name of his wife, Susannah, has well and truly lived up to his name – earning more than $7.5 million in prize money over the course of the past five seasons alone.

In November, his horse Royale Pagaille won the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park – Ricci’s prize? A cool $145,000 or so. Nice work if you can get it.

With a name like that, it’s perhaps no surprise that money has seemed to follow the 59-year-old around – although Ricci started life in more modest fashion in a rundown office in Wilmington, NY…

Wise Investment

You’ve no doubt heard of Barclays, the global bank that has headquarters and offices on West Street in Wilmington and also the MetLife Building on Park Avenue.

But you may be less familiar with Barclays de Zoete Wedd, the investment subsidiary that was failing until Ricci was handed the reins of the firm that would become colloquially known as BZW.

BZW became Barclays Capital, with Ricci playing a key role in delivering the kinds of returns that high rollers expect – those, according to reports, reached $215 million a year between 2002 and 2009.

Earning an attractive salary having been promoted to chief executive of the main Barclays brand, Ricci also began stockpiling, well, stock, accumulating an estimated $88 million in shares that he would later sell for yet another handsome payday.

There were downs as well as ups during his time with the firm, which ultimately saw Ricci take early retirement as a new Barclays hierarchy looked to distance itself from the bad news era.

That gave Ricci more time to invest in the things he loves – not least racehorses, moving to the UK to live with his wife Susannah and to oversee a racing operation helmed by Willie Mullins, the Irish trainer that has saddled more winners at the Cheltenham Festival than anyone else.

It’s a long way from New York to Cheltenham, but for Ricci, it’s been a journey worth every dime.

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