Before the debate starts, National Hunt Racing would not be the same without these two giants of the sport. Constantly with one eye on the future, both J.P McManus and the Ricci's have invested so heavily in racing, whereby sometimes profit is hard to obtain.
In recent years, Rich Ricci's Mr Blobby colours have been the colours to follow at the Cheltenham Festival. Despite fooling around with punters, with what many call 'Rich Ricci Bingo, he does feel a certain allegiance to the racing world, as they share a deep love with racing and indeed his horses - inevitably, because they win lots of high profile races, and win them lots of money.
But, it's in the manner they do so; for example when Faugheen proved he was a machine when blitzing the field in the 2015 Champion Hurdle, a gazelle in equine form - also known as Vautour, who did not see a rival in any of his three Cheltenham successes, the 2016 Arkle winner Douvan who does not touch a twig when in full flight and the Queen: Annie Power, breaking the hearts of thousands, only to redeem herself twelve months later. It is the sort of fairy tales that are written in children's books.
However, his successes have been short lived, as he attempts to continue the winning trend of old. His novices are not what they once were, and with not a lot coming through the door, it is a fair argument to suggest he is struggling to locate the next big thing - usually from France. His stable stars of the past few years, have struggled with injuries and consistency, or have been sadly lost in freak accidents. The top mares have been retired to stud, and the although he has hacked up in the last five years, with a whole host of successes, including on the flat, the missing link for the Ricci's, in comparison to J.P McManus, is domination in consistency.
Year in, year out, since the recognisable green and gold hoops came to town, J.P McManus has shared much prosperity at all of the major meetings. Not only does he dominate the fields; which could perhaps be seen as a negative, he dominates the finishes, with so many wins of say, the Champion Hurdle, you could just about count them on your fingers. Istabraq, Binocular, Jezki and now Buveur Dair, who is trained by Nicky Henderson, have all been memorable winners we can elude to from past festivals of a certain race from different eras. Be that as it may, the clear difference has just been previously identified. Ricci looks for class, whilst McManus prevails with quantity.
They are both in their own rights without doubt, leading owners of NH Racing. That's a given. McManus may have just proved it for longer, but it only takes one investment from Ricci to turn that all around. J.P gets the vote here, on the basis of being around longer, and being at the top over an extensive period. But never rule out a Ricci runner.
You will always know for sure, that if McManus or the Ricci's have flung big cash at something, it must be something special and worthwhile.