What are the different ways of owning a racehorse?

Owning a racehorse is one of those apparently risky, expensive activities that has spawned a family of jokes along the lines of, ‘How do you make small fortune…? Start out with a large one!’ Of course, some owners do make money from the ‘Sport of Kings’, but they are very much in the minority and, on the whole, racehorse ownership is better viewed as an enjoyable, exciting hobby than an investment opportunity.

Various different types of ownership exist, some of which are more affordable than others. Sole ownership, for example, offers the potential benefits of naming your horse, choosing your own racing colours and receiving all the owners’ prize money your horse wins. You must, of course, bear the initial purchase cost of your horse, alone, plus ongoing training costs and ‘extras’, such as farrier and veterinary bills, transport costs, entries fees and so on. Thus, the average cost of ownership can be anything up to £23,000, annually, according to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

For reasons of cost-effectiveness, many owners choose to band together with one or more like-minded individuals, not all of whom need, necessarily, to be officially registered owners, in a partnership, syndicate or racing club. The terms and conditions of a partnership are defined by the individuals concerned, but syndicates and racing clubs are administered by managers, who take care of their day-to-day running while member reap the benefits of owning, or leasing, one or more horses.