Racing is a dynamic sport and a vibrant industry and there can be a lot to get to grips with, ranging from equine knowledge, to an understanding of the sport itself, and commercial opportunities and connections. So if, like many people, you’re dreaming of owning a racehorse or even a string of racehorses, there are a few important considerations and decisions to work through as you get underway and take your first steps towards ownership.
Firstly, you need to understand the average costs of keeping a racehorse in training, so that you don’t have any surprises and you can make ownership decisions in accordance with your financial situation.
An ROA survey of ownership costs in 2015 found that the annual average cost of a Flat horse in training was £22,595. This included costs, such as, training fees, gallops, farrier, transport, vets, entries, jockeys and registration fees.
With these average costs in mind, you need to consider the type of ownership that’s most suitable to your financial circumstances and the ownership experience you’re seeking. There are a number of different ownership options available, where you either own as an individual, company or group. Each type of ownership is different in numerous ways and here’s a quick run-down of the main options…
This is where you purchase and own a horse outright and are responsible for the associated administration. You’re also liable for all the costs and will receive all of the owner’s share of prize-money.
Registering your company as an owner allows you to take advantage of unique branding opportunities – your silks can match your brand colours and you can sponsor your horse, so that your logo is displayed on your silks. With company ownership you purchase your horse, retain full ownership, your company is responsible for all the costs and receives all of the owner’s share of prize-money.
As a co-owner you’ll share your horse with a group of like-minded people whilst significantly reducing the expenses associated with ownership, as all costs are divided amongst the owners. There are three main types of group ownership…
All partners are registered owners with the BHA and have a percentage share of the horse. On sale of the horse, you’d receive proceeds equivalent to your percentage share. You’re responsible for your percentage of the costs and will receive your percentage of the owner’s prize-money.
Shared ownership where only the syndicate manager needs to be a registered owner with the BHA. They also handle all the administration. Check each agreement for details, such as:
- Who owns the horse (and receives any proceeds of sale).
- How prize-money is distributed, who to and when.
- The length of the agreement.
#3 Racing Club
Run by racing managers, clubs are monthly or annual subscriptions offering shared ownership. These are different to partnerships and syndicates in that the club itself owns the horse, not the members and therefore the club managers receive any proceeds from the sale of the horse. There are often many members, sometimes hundreds, if not thousands. You may get a proportion of the prize-money, but do not expect it to cover your costs.
Make sure you check the details in each agreement for group ownership as they do vary.
Your choice of trainer is pivotal. They can make the whole experience for you. If you’re new to horseracing you’ll need the support and guidance of your trainer on certain matters throughout the whole experience. So you need someone you can go to, who’s got time for you and who’s happy to help.
Communication is essential. Beyond the day-to-day training of your horse, which is of course the central role of a trainer, their communications to you are paramount to your enjoyment and to making you feel a valued part of the team. If you try and find someone you personally like, you’ll naturally appreciate their communication style.
Further to communication style, you need to consider any other attributes you’d like in a trainer…are you looking for someone innovative? Maybe, someone with varied experience and depth of equine and racing knowledge? Perhaps, someone with a particularly strong equine welfare focus? Most trainers have a website which enable you to get a very clear idea of this kind of information in order to create a short list. After which, the best way to get your questions answered and to get a feel for whether you like them (or not!), is to get in touch and arrange to have a chat.
When joining a partnership or syndicate, the trainer and horse often come as a package. As your trainer will already have a selection of horses with shares available and you can choose the one that appeals to you the most.
As a sole owner you may already have a horse, or you might like to go to the sales with your trainer and experience the unprecedented thrill of purchasing your horse at auction. Your trainer would be more than happy to attend with you, view horses and offer their wealth of advice and knowledge on how the whole process works, the attributes of each horse, and help you make the right decision, at the right price.
Administration of Your Ownership
There’s a quite a bit of administration involved in ownership and if you’re new to racing it can take some time to work through. To give you an idea of the basic admin involved, you need to – register as an owner, register your colours, set-up your racing account, name your horse (if not already named) and register an authority to act. You should also – register sponsorship and register to reclaim VAT.
Therefore, it’s worth considering the extent to which you’d like to be involved in the administration side of ownership. By opting for a partnership, syndicate or racing club, you can avoid the majority of the administration as it’s handled by the trainer or manager, removing the hassle and freeing you up to enjoy your ownership that much more.
Get In Touch
Here at Gansera-Lévêque Racing your experience of racehorse ownership is central to us. We offer both sole and group ownership options to allow you the most freedom possible in choosing the best ownership option for you. We do our utmost to offer the personal touch, ensuring each owner is fully involved and up to date with their horse’s development, training and racing career.
If you have any questions at all on racehorse ownership or would like to discuss how to go about becoming an owner, please feel free to contact me – I’d be more than happy to talk it through. Alternatively, you can find out more by downloading my ‘Guide to Becoming a Racehorse Owner’ below…