Michael Tabor, the wealthy former bookmaker and racehorse owner, has emerged as a key investor in a £55m deal to buy two Thistle hotels in London. Mr Tabor is a well-known figure in the British racing industry and is understood to be backing the deal to acquire the freeholds of the hotels, which are both in Kings Cross.
He is a close associate of John Magnier, the Irish bloodstock magnate who, with his partner JP McManus, have built up a large stake in Manchester United Football Club.
Mr Magnier recently had a high-profile wrangle over the stud rights to Rock of Gibraltar, the record-breaking racehorse part owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager.
Mr Tabor's hotels deal involves the Thistle London Islington and the Thistle London Ryan, which will be operated by Travelodge, the budget hotel group. The freeholds have been acquired by Kirkmore Securities and will be leased out to Travelodge on a 35-year contract.
Travelodge refused to comment on Mr Tabor's involvement in the deal. The company already owns a 140-room Travelodge in Kings Cross which opened in December.