The Thrill of Ownership
With multiple ownership now a regular feature of racing, it has never been so easy for people to have direct slice of the action – action which encompasses not only the tingling excitement of seeing your horse in a race but the related activities that come with it:
- buying – and often naming your horse
- choosing your colours
- visiting your trainer to discuss the horse’s program and plan it’s campaign.
- watching your horse at the races
- standing in the enclosure before the race as your horse is led around then legging up the jockey.
- winning or losing, welcoming your horse back from the battle on the track
- Never a dull moment and limitless fun – that’s modern racehorse ownership.
Types of Ownership
The basic types of ownership are:
Sole Ownership – You will be the owner of the horse and as such any costs and profits will be yours alone! You will have a close involvement with any of the decisions regarding the horse and you will feel a great sense of personal pride in its achievements.
Co-ownership & Partnerships – Why not race a horse with a group of friends. Groups of up to 20 persons can join together in racing a horse, spreading the costs of buying and training your thoroughbred and sharing any prizemoney.
Racing Clubs & Syndicates – A popular way to get involved in racing, racing clubs offer the benefit of paying a small membership fee to belong to the club and having the excitement of following a number of different horses.
Leasing – This is an option if you don’t wish to take on the full expense of ownership straight away. You can lease a horse from an existing owner or breeder, during which time the horse will run in your name. Under such an agreement you meet the training fees and associated costs and receive prize money won by the horse in return for a rental to the owner (commonly 1/3 of prize money).
Getting Started - Choosing a Trainer
Once you have decided that you want to get involved in racehorse ownership you will need to find a trainer or agent as an adviser. The quality of advice that you receive at this stage is likely to have a major influence on your future success and it is therefore important that you take your time choosing your trainer or agent.
When buying your horse an agent will normally charge a percentage of the horse's purchase price in commission. Trainers will be unlikely to charge a fee, but they will expect to train the horse.
When you contact a trainer, there are several basic questions to which you will need answers. If you want a trainer to get involved with buying your horse for you, you will need to know if they will charge you for doing this, and you may like to question them concerning how successful they have been with their purchases in the past. You should question them about the training fees per week and get an estimate of the costs of extras such as nomination fees, veterinary fees, farrier fees and transport.
Whilst looking for a suitable trainer you will notice that fees will vary according to the reputation of the trainer, the location and the facilities available. However always remember that getting along with your trainer is a very important part of the thrill of ownership.
Buying a Horse
Once a trainer or bloodstock agent has been chosen, they will analyse any upcoming sales catalogue to look out for horses that they feel have potential and lie within your price range. They may also look out for potential private purchases that could be suitable. They will then produce a short list to discuss with you and should you decide to go ahead they would organise a veterinary examination of the horse that you hope to purchase.
The most popular way to purchase a horse is through a public auction. You will find the value, quality and choice of bloodstock available at Australian sales is unrivalled and graduates from these auctions excel on the world-wide stage. Each sales house has strict guidelines to protect buyers, which are constantly updated to reflect changes within the industry. It is also possible to buy a horse privately, or you can purchase a share in a racehorse from a racehorse syndicator.
If you buy a racehorse you will then have to register as an owner. You will have the fun of choosing your own personal colours to be made up into silks for your jockey to wear and may also have to decide on a partnership name. If you buy an unnamed horse you may also have the challenge of naming it. All of these activities are part of the experience of becoming a racehorse owner.