Owning a share of a racehorse has now completely overtook sole ownership in terms of popularity. Affordable and social, it allows the average racing enthusiast the chance to become involved in this wonderful and thrilling sport.
There are now hundreds of syndicate companies selling shares and offering their services. Some have 1% shares available, some 25% shares and whilst all should adhere to the BHA guidelines, there can be wide variations in how they operate and the benefits they offer.
Below are some of the regular questions we get asked when owners make their initial enquiry which you may wish to consider too:
1. Who decides the training and race programme for my horse? Is it the trainer, or the syndicate manager? Will my opinion be listened to?
2. How often will my horse run? Some trainers/clubs tend to race horses more than others.
3. Do I get a complimentary Owners & Trainers badge every time my horse runs or will my name go into a ballot? What about Owners & Trainers badges for my guests?
4. Is prize money distributed to owners straight away like if you were a sole owner or does it go into a fund to cover training fees and expenses? Do syndicate managers take a percentage?
5. How long is the ownership agreement for? Is there the opportunity to extend at the end of the initial agreement if I want to carry on?
6. Can I withdraw from a syndicate early and easily if my circumstances change?
7. If the horse is a decent one, will the syndicate owners be involved in the decision of exception/refusing offers? Or is this solely the responsibility of the syndicate manager?
8. Once a horse retires from racing, what happens to it? Is the syndicate active in finding the horse the best new home possible?
If you interested to know how we run things at Heart of the South Racing, please continue reading below to learn our successful formula to racehorse ownership which has worked for over 20 years!
When can I visit my horse?
Visiting the stables, seeing your horse on the gallops and discovering what goes on behind the scenes can be just as much fun as going to the races. To get the most from your ownership experience and to meet your fellow members, we strongly encourage owners to visit their horse in his/hers training environment as much as is convenient.
All our trainers operate an open access policy so owners can visit whenever they wish and there is no need to wait for our organized stable visits.
If you wish to have a leisurely visit and see your horse in the stable (maybe even give them a carrot or two!) then any day before 1pm is fine. However, if you wish to see your horse work on the gallops and hopefully spend a bit of time with the trainer, you will need to arrive around 8am to 10am (depending on the horse’s schedule for that day.)
Either way, please call us the day before to confirm a suitable time for your visit.
Keeping you updated
With Heart of the South you are kept fully informed of the wellbeing and progress of your horse through regular texts, emails and newsletters. Most importantly however please use our exclusive Owner Information Line – 01825 891924 – which is NOT a premium rate number. Each horse has its own section which will always be up to date with news on the horse and it’s race plans. There is also an exclusive “Owners Only” section on the hotline which is updated whenever we have a runner with comments from the trainer which can be accessed via a passcode.
However please do not hesitate to call us whenever you have any questions regarding your horse or the rules of racing, we are always delighted to hear from owners.
Training and running decisions for your horse
The vast majority of decisions regarding the training and running of our horses are made by the trainers themselves. They are the closest to the horse and therefore in the best position to map out the horse’s programme. The trainer also chooses the race, the jockey and decides the race tactics. After all, we do pay them a lot of money to do the job!
However, should you have a suggestion regarding the training/races for your horse, please do contact us. We have daily contact with each trainer and can therefore put forward any reasonable suggestions and discuss further. Should a matter then arise requiring a decision by the owners, this shall be determined by a majority vote.
How often will my horse run?
Again, this is a decision made by your trainer and depends on the type of horse you own i.e. age, trip, flat, National Hunt etc. Jumpers tend to race roughly once a month whereas flat horses can run every few weeks during peak season (2-year olds are the exception as they are only young and can take time to develop both physically and mentally.)
An important point you must remember however is horses do need a break at various stages in their career. We try to rest our horses at least 10-12 weeks minimum per year (sometimes split into two mini breaks) and locate them at well respected yards where they are in the best possible resting environment. A period of rest is essential for racehorses as it allows them to recuperate and overcome any minor stresses or strains. It also allows them to freshen-up and strengthen for the season ahead.
You should be aware that horses do sometimes sustain injuries and are unable to race for a period of time. This can happen at any point in their career. All of our horses are insured against mortality but not against injuries.
Complimentary Owners Badges
We always ensure each owner gets at least one complimentary Owners & Trainers Badge whenever their horse runs which allows you access to the Owners Bar, Parade Ring and (with a bit of luck!) the Winners Enclosure. We have built up very good relationships with the racecourses over the years so in addition we are normally able to negotiate extra O&T badges for your family and friends at discounted prices so everyone can enjoy the ownership experience.
Any prize money won by your horse goes directly into their bank account. You will see a breakdown of these sums in your quarterly statement. Syndicate managers do not take a cut of prize money.
When large sums of prize money is won during the season, early surplus payments will be made to owners.
Heart of the South Racing also offer a service to pay your prize money by BACS to save you constantly paying in cheques at the bank. Please notify us should you prefer to do this.
Please note that every time your horse wins, £60 of the prize money will be given to the lad or lass who looks after the horse, this works out at just £3 per 5% share. This serves as a thank you for all their hard work and dedication.
How long do the syndicates last?
Our syndicates follow the BHA guidelines and run for an initial two seasons which is called an ‘initial period.’ At the end of the initial period the horse will be due to be sold at public auction (normally the Ascot Horses In Training Sale) and the proceeds divided equally among the owners of that horse. However if all owners wish to continue, the syndicate will do so for another year – as with Good Luck Charm, Master Poet, Dragosn Voice etc etc and there will be no additional fee to pay to do this, just continuing with the training fees.
However should your circumstances change and you unfortunately have to leave the partnership, the end of the initial period provides you with that opportunity. Your horse will either go through the sales ring or preferably your share can be sold privately (which is often easier and avoids the numerous costs associated with the sales.)
Retiring from a syndicate
If you wish to retire from your syndicate before the initial period please do inform Heart of the South Racing first. You may sell your share either to the other syndicate owners or outside the syndicate through the normal channels. Please note it is primarily the Owner’s responsibility although Heart of the South Racing is happy to assist where possible for a small administration fee.
Retraining and Rehoming of a horse
Once a horse retires from racing, Heart of the South do their upmost to find a perfect, life-long home. Every horse is different but after time, care and retraining, almost any horse can go on and excel in a new sphere. These new spheres could include hunting, Point-to-Point, dressage, polo clubs, riding horse, lead horses, companion horses, cross country etc. It depends on the individual but we always try and find our horses a new career that will fit them. Obviously horses can be moved on but we try our hardest to keep in regular contact with our retired horses new owners and follow their progress. Read here to see how well they thrive in retirement.
Please note that the emphasis of our horseracing syndicates is that if we do have a good horse we keep them. You can be assured that if you own a decent horse he/she will not be sold early for financial gain, as with some racing clubs. We are here to enjoy racing!
** All our syndicates are run within the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) & Jockey Club guidelines and rules **