“Horse racing is as much an investment in lifestyle and leisure but with perks of prize money and profit in the process“. If someone had told me a few years ago that I’d own a racehorse, I’d have laughed at them. This year, quite unexpectedly, I had this opportunity. I had no idea how easy it could be to own a racehorse and how much fun it could be!
Racehorses are magnificent animals to behold and are amongst the most gracious on the planet. They possess great speed and stamina and can run 100m in half the time the fastest human can. Many would say they are akin to a Formula 1 car on legs and the sport has taken place in the country since Roman times.
Among the fastest racehorses to have ever lived include Secretariat, Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Black Caviar, Valiant Pete and Winning Brew.
A sport of royalty
Horse racing is the 2nd largest spectator sport in the UK and one of the longest established. The British Horseracing Authority estimates it generates £3.39 billion of total direct and indirect expenditure in the British economy.
It is the sport of royalty and has a following all over the world. Several of the horses I have shareholding in have raced against Her Majesty the queen’s horses.
Like all of my investment areas, racing is pretty male dominated. Whether you prefer to invest in ‘flat racers’ or ‘jumpers’, it can, in theory, provide all year round entertainment as well as, in my case, opportunities for investment.
An investment to elevate your social life
For those new to the sport and the idea of investment, you have to be aware that this is a high risk investment. The great thing about investing in horses nowadays though is that you don’t have to be in elevated circles to own a racehorse and get a taste of the action.
According to the Racehorse Owners Association, more than 60% of racehorses trained in Britain are in some form of joint ownership, syndicate or partnership. What this essentially means is that you pay an upfront sum for part of the horse plus ongoing monthly fees. Generally training, racing and veterinary costs add up to about £28,000 per horse per year. You are then offered certain privileges! Like regular visits to training stables, watching your horse being exercised… And of course being able to attend the races with owner’s privileges.
I love having the opportunity to be in the Parade ring viewing my horse just before the race and have been in the winners enclosure several times! It is an afternoon or evening out with the opportunity to wine and dine in the members enclosure. Many of the more prestigious races require formal dress codes and it is a great experience to take in all of the glamour and fashion. The media are generally present as are celebrities.
Manage it with an entrepreneur mindset
As with many of my investments though, I look to reduce risk by creating a varied portfolio. I generally aim for smaller shareholdings in several horses at one time. This not only creates more opportunities to attend races and win prize money but also minimises the risk of any horse being injured or unwell.
My goal is to maximise pleasure but never lose money. Horse racing is as much an investment in lifestyle and leisure but with perks of prize money and profit in the process. I decided to enter the world of horse racing via Cliff Woof, Managing Director of Newmarket Racing Club.
Cliff has been in the trade for many years in Newmarket and has an excellent reputation as a tipper also. He has been selecting horses for many years and has been successfully selecting horses to at least double his initial investment. His strategy generally involves careful assessment when purchasing fillies or colts with unfulfilled potential, with reference to the bloodstock and then training up to win races before being sold on for profit.
Select carefully your racehorses
There are many stables wanting to sell you horses and not every horse can be a winner. Equally, a horse can become injured at any point. However, not wanting to be too cautious, profits can be made and I was very fortunate to have been introduced to a club that had expertise in the selection of winners.
Of the 3 horses I have invested in, all are looking very good investments. From more of a hobby perspective though, it has been a great investment of my time. I have got to meet some really great people in the club I am in and mingle with many trainers. Newmarket is where horse racing originated and entering the town in the early hours has become a spectacle I always love, seeing so many horses in the town.
Another word of caution though. Be prepared to learn a new language. If you were new to racing, like myself, you probably won’t know many of the colloquialisms, traditions and etiquettes. It may take you some time to get up to speed but is all part of the fun.