Horse Racing is not an inexpensive sport. The cost of purchasing a yearling, registering it, then sending it to a stable of a trainer, and entering the horse in a race all cost money, most of the time substantial sums of money.
Then there are the veterinary and farrier fees, the nomination fees for each race, and the insurance that each racehorse requires. Owning a racehorse is a calling, and an owner has to be passionate about not only the horse but the sport as well.
How much does it cost to Enter a Horse into a Race in the UK? For races in Great Britain, a fee of £19.92 (plus VAT) is payable to the British Horseracing Authority Ltd. in respect of each entry processed via the Racing Administration Internet site. Entries may be made online through the British Horseracing Authority’s Racing Administration website. For most races, entries close five or six days in advance of the race.
Owning a Horse is Expensive – But there are Exceptions
As expensive as owning a racehorse can become, there are exceptions. In the USA, Paul Reddam paid $35,000 for his champion thoroughbred racehorse, I’ll Have Another, in 2011, a relatively modest purchase price in the world of professional horseracing.
A mere fifteen months later, he sold the colt to a Japanese breeder for $10 million after the horse won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Reddam had also exceeded his profits with a seven-figure gain on a six-figure wager, more than doubling his original stake.
“There are those that hit the metaphorical home run,” said Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association President Dan Metzger. “It’s not uncommon, but it doesn’t happen every day”. While luck is important in horse racing, money doesn’t hurt either, and owners sometimes spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on purchasing and training horses they hope will grow into profitable competitors.
In South Africa, Ashwin Reynolds was a relatively unknown owner when he bought a horse called Kommetdieding. The horse was sent to the hitherto relatively unknown stable of Michelle Rix and Harold Crawford. It rose through the ranks at a relatively rapid pace and In 2021 it won one of South Africa’s most premier middle-distance races, The July. He then followed that up in 2022 by recording a magnificent double in winning the Cape Town Met. A once in a lifetime horse bought for a meagre R55 000 (approximately £2750) at a Yearling sale in South Africa.
Purchasing a racehorse – Costs in the United Kingdom for Flat and Jump Horses
You don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to partake in horse racing ownership. Racing fans who want to see their horse blazing down the home straight and cross that finishing line in first place, have many possibilities.
According to data from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), there are around 14,000 racehorses in training in the United Kingdom and the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) has stated that there are many methods to buy a racehorse.
Purchasing a Racehorse – Different Methods
- Sole ownership means that the purchaser of the horse is the only person engaged in the ownership and has a 100 percent ownership stake in the horse. The racehorse will be named by the owner and will run in the owners’ silks (the colours worn by the horse’s jockey as displayed in the racecard). Any expenses or profits are solely your responsibility.
- Partnership – A shared ownership arrangement enables partners to determine the proportion of each racehorse they own and divide expenses and wins based on ownership shares.
- Syndicate – A group of purchasers (usually approximately twenty like-minded individuals), many of whom are unknown to one another, but who share ownership of a horse or horses. A syndicate manager oversees the day-to-day operations and interacts with the horse’s trainer as well as syndicate members.
Purchasing a Racehorse – Characteristics to Analyse
A racehorse’s purchasing price may range from hundreds of pounds to millions of pounds. The price is determined by their lineage, physique, and the racing performance of the horses’ parents. In the United Kingdom, it is usual for owners to spend an initial purchase price of between £10,000 and £20,000 or more for a thoroughbred.
Of course, purchasing is merely the beginning of your investment. Annual expenses for training, horse insurance, registration, race admission, and transportation can mount up quickly. According to the ROA, the annual expense of maintaining a horse in training is roughly £23,000 for a flat horse and approximately £16,000 for a National Hunt or jumps horse.
It’s simple to understand why shared ownership in a syndicate or partnership is so popular since these expenses are distributed equally amongst all the owners.
Expenses for the Racehorse Owner
There are many levels of registration fees payable to the BHA based on the sort of ownership you’ve selected for your horse or horses. These values are broken down in the ROA.
A solitary owner could expect to spend upwards of £300 for a Ready to Race registration, with further expenses subject to yearly re-registration.
Again, training prices may vary depending on the trainer and whether you are preparing on the flat or jumping. The average yearly training price for a flat is upwards of £10, 000 per racehorse. These include farrier, vet, physio, dental costs, gallop fees as well as various supplements required for each horse.
Horseracing Ownership is not for the faint-hearted
Owning a horse is not for the faint-hearted, and can hurt your pocket in the long term as a sole owner. However, if your love for the Horse is powerful, then owning a racehorse, as a sole owner or in a partnership, is something you might want to strive towards.
Remember, the costs are numerous, and because you want your horse to be entered into various races, an Entry Fee for every race entered into will be payable as will numerous other fees to your trainer, jockey, vet, and farrier.
However, that feeling of excitement when your horse comes thundering down the straight towards the winning post is unparalleled and all those expenses will be an afterthought when your horse crosses the winning line in first place.