BA for racehorse ownership

Own a Race Horse

Ever thought of owning your own racehorse and rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Queen of England, Sheikh Mohammed and film stars. You do not have to be super rich to be part owner of a lovely animal that can make it possible for you to travel the country visiting racecourses throughout the year.

For as little as £86.95 a year you could own a share of a horse owned by a UK horse racing club. Share is the operative word here, for you buy a share of a horse that was bought by the club and is registered in the club's name. In addition club membership usually costs about £200 a year.

I must emphasise that the outlay should be looked at as a recreational hobby for pleasure and not a money making enterprise. If you are lucky enough to have bought into a club that suddenly finds itself in possession of a winner, then enjoy the experience while it lasts, but do not expect it to continue with every horse that the club buys.

The first thing to decide is whether you want to buy into a flat race club or a jumping club; in one you visit racecourses in the summer and in the other in the winter, but some clubs have an interest in both. There is less chance of getting your money back with a jumper as the prize money is smaller, although the races are longer and some would say are more exciting.

When in a club you will be informed of horses that it has bought or sold. The sales start in September at Doncaster where a horse can be bought for a few hundred pounds or several million. A nice four year old will cost between £10,000 and £20,000, but a horse with stylish parents would cost between £40,000 and £50,000. To keep a horse in training can cost around £12,000 a year.

Once the club has bought a horse its value is divided up into a number of shares and these are offered to members of the club at a price representative of the whole value of the horse. A club may have several horses or just one. The number of club members will reflect the amount of money that each member is prepared to put into shares; therefore the club could have a small membership or a large one, but all the time this is reflected in the quality of the horse and its value.

Choosing a respected club is a priority or you will not get value for your money, so a little research is required before you buy into a club. A telephone call to the British Horseracing Board is a good place to start, and do not be afraid to ask questions. The Jockey Club is another place that you could contact. Remember they will not recommend any one club, the final choice is with you, but they may be able to point you in the right direction.

A club is not the only way of owning a horse, but it is probably the least expensive. Another form of ownership is a partnership of which there are two types, both have between two and twenty people. Depending on the initial cost of the horse twelve people may initially invest £1,000 and £100 a month for costs. To own a horse this way you will need some expert advice and this has to be paid for; here again the British Horseracing Board is a good place to start for you will need advice on trainers and bloodstock agents. Choose a few from the list supplied by the BHB and arrange to visit their yards before you put your horse in their hands. You will have to register the horse with the Jockey Club through Weatherbys, the racing administrator. Here again the final decision is that of the members of the partnership.

The pinnacle of racehorse ownership is sole ownership and is the most expensive way of owning a horse, but it brings more of the privileges. For example it will be registered in your name and race in your colours, and you will not be vying with other members of the club for your turn to represent the club at meetings, you will be the sole owner. It will be your horse. This is a route you take when you have some idea of horseracing, or are not worried by losses incurred by making mistakes, as you surley will.

Whichever way you choose to become involved horseracing ownership it still a high risk hobby. I call it a hobby for that is how you should look at it. As I have said before you may be lucky and find a winner, but the odds are you will not. You will enjoy the thrill of seeing your horse race, the atmosphere of the racecourse and the people that you meet. Enjoy the fun if you decide to become involved. If it is not for you you can always enjoy the spectacle on the television without the risk to your money.

Further details about racehorse ownership in the UK can be obtained from the British Horseracing Board, telephone : 0171 396 0011. The Jockey Club 0171 486 4921. Weatherbys 01933 440077.

Enjoy your hobby.

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