A bid to rescue ailing Stobart Super League club Salford could lie in the hands of a millionaire racehorse owner.
Dr Marwan Koukash has been unveiled as the mystery businessman locked in talks aimed at saving the City Reds, who were yesterday given a stay of execution when they managed to stave off the threat of a winding-up order.
Dr Koukash, who has almost 100 horses in training, is originally from Kuwait but has lived in Liverpool for more than 30 years and graduated from Liverpool John Moores University.
The City Reds' potential saviour, whose main offices are based near Haydock Park, yesterday attended a meeting at a secret location with development company Peel Holdings and Salford Council, the joint landlords of the Salford City Stadium who are both keen to keep the cash-strapped Super League club afloat.
It is thought Dr Koukash would be unlikely to go it alone at the Salford City Stadium, with Peel set to hold the key to any rescue plan.
The Super League club were not represented at the meeting at which the Rugby Football League acted as brokers.
There was no official comment from any of their parties involved but talks are expected to resume tomorrow, once Peel and the council have taken stock of their positions.
Salford say they need around £600,000 to survive the new season but a rescue plan collapsed in December when local councillors voted against a proposed £750,000 loan, which Peel were prepared to match.
It was the prospect of new investment that persuaded a judge to grant an adjournment of a winding-up petition brought by former players Luke Patten and Vinnie Anderson and HM Revenue and Customs.
The hearing, at the Manchester District Registry of The High Court Of Justice, was put off until February 4, three days after the City Reds are due to play their opening match of Super League XVIII against Wigan at the Salford City Stadium.