Racehorse ownership: A unique and exciting investment

Racehorse ownership: A unique and exciting investment

It is rare to find a more exhilarating experience than owning your own racehorse.  The roar of the crowd as the horses gallop up the straight towards the finishing post, the sound of thundering hooves, and the swoosh of colourful silks flying past; the atmosphere is electric.

Watching your own horse brings the experience to the next level – the excitement of a winner and the champagne popping celebrations that follow. But where to find the right horse?

Tattersalls is the oldest and most prestigious bloodstock auctioneers in the world and holds a strong reputation for producing elite performers.  Founded near Hyde Park Corner in London in 1766, but now firmly established in Britain’s racings headquarters of Newmarket, the Tattersalls team carefully select the thousands of racehorses to enter their ring for sale each year.  Anyone is allowed to take a seat in their impressive amphitheatre style sales ring and then the bidding begins for a future champion.

Tattersalls traditions

At Tattersalls horses are still sold in guineas, one guinea being the equivalent of £1.05, with the company keeping the 5p.  The commission structure has been in place since its establishment over 250 years ago and gives a nod to old traditions. Whilst the large electric selling boards reflect the modern business and its international clientele, with the bidding followed in all major currencies.

In 2017 Tattersalls sold the most expensive horse ever purchased at European auction for 6 million guineas (£6.3 million) bought by MV Magnier, son of Coolmore owner and Irish business mogul, John Magnier.

A sale to suit all budgets

Tattersalls host 12 sales per year in Newmarket of which the most prestigious is the October Book 1 Yearling Sale.  This is where the serious money is and where Tattersalls displays its crème de la crème thoroughbred offering. It has proven an unrivalled source of Group 1 performers with 103 winners of 184 Group 1 races. This sale is followed by Books 2, 3 and 4, for those looking to spend a little less, then the Horses in Training, foal sale, and breeding stock sale.

“Our team can guide buyers as to where they are best suited,’ says Jason Singh, Tattersalls marketing manager. “Book 1-4 of our October Yearling Sale take place over two weeks and there’s no point wasting your time looking for a yearling with a specific budget in the wrong sale.  By contacting us we can ensure you are coming to a sale that will best suit.”

Breeze Up Sale Concept

For those wanting a little more information to go by when investing, other than just pedigree and physical conformation, a breeze up sale may be the best option when in search of your first (or next) star racehorse.

These sales are for 2-year-olds and held in the Spring of the year ahead of the flat turf season commencing. On the day before the sale begins, the horses do a solo gallop known as a ‘breeze’ with a jockey aboard for 2 furlongs (approx. 400m). The gallop is timed to give potential buyers a gauge on the horse’s natural speed as well as their temperament when asked to quicken.

Many of the horses bought at this sale go onto make their debut racecourse appearances just weeks after being purchased by new connections, the perfect option for someone eager to get going on their racehorse ownership journey.

The Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up Sale is set to commence on Monday 17th April, when the horses will breeze on Newmarket racecourse’s Rowley Mile. Bloodstock agents, trainers and all other potential buyers will be poised and ready to watch these unexposed future stars showcase their aptitude for the sport.

Lot 379 Frankel (GB) / Blue Waltz (GB) B.C. (GB) Fittocks Stud M V Magnier & White Birch Farm 1,900,000.
Tattersalls October Yearling Sale Book 1

Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up Sale – the source of success and value

The Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up Sale enjoyed an exceptional year on the racecourse in 2022 with two Classic winners in Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas winner NATIVE TRAIL and 1,000 Guineas winner CACHET, as well as an extraordinary eleven Group/Listed performing two-year-olds from last year’s sale.

NATIVE TRAIL who was originally purchased for 67,000gns at the Tattersalls October Book 1 Yearling Sale, then went on to make 210,000gns at the Craven Breeze Up Sale just 6 months later. Since then, he has earned over £1 million in prize money so far in the famous royal blue Godolphin silks. Once his racing career ends, he is predicted to make multiple millions for his owners, in his role as a stallion at stud.

CACHET is another star graduate who was purchased at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up Sale. She was purchased for 60,000gns by Jake Warren. She races under the ownership of Highclere Thoroughbreds, established by the Hon Harry Herbert – a syndicate of 20 people who originally got involved for a ‘buy in’ figure of just over £6,000. This showcases the affordable ownership options available to those looking to become racehorse owners, but not at the same expense as sole ownership.

Cachet has now earned over £500,000 in prize money so far while also giving her connections the most exhilarating experiences through her consistently impressive race day performances. That feeling of being in the winner’s enclosure with your winning horse after a top-class race is something many can only ever dream of.

Not only has this filly brought connections success domestically but also at the top level internationally when travelling to The Breeders Cup in America and The French Guineas at Longchamp, Paris, unforgettable memories for all involved.

Her commercial value is hard to quantify once her racing career ends and she retires to become a broodmare. If she can produce offspring with even half the talent she displayed on the track, she will be an extremely lucrative commodity.

Professional guidance

“The most important thing if you are thinking of coming and buying a horse is to get professional advice, either from a trainer or an agent who will guide you to make sure you buy the horse that suits your needs,’ explains Singh.  As there are lots of different options at the sales, from foals to older horses, and as most owners are not experts in assessing thoroughbreds, it is advised to enlist the help of an industry expert.  Bloodstock agents provide valuable form, pedigree and physical analysis and help ensure that the buying process is made simple.  Buying your own racehorse is incredibly exciting, so is something that should not be rushed.  “It is also important to contact Tattersalls in advance of the sale to register as a buyer’ Singh adds – something your agent can also assist with.

International presence

Racing and bloodstock in the UK are regarded as the very best around the world. Many of the horses purchased at Tattersalls go on to perform on the main global stage, winning contests in Dubai, America, France and Japan, so it is no surprise that overseas buyers have a big presence at the sales.

According to Singh “Tattersalls attracts buyers from more than 50 countries each year, many of whom will export their purchases back to race or breed in their country and many who will leave the horses locally.”  In total overseas buyers account for approximately 60% of horses sold at the sales each year.

Investing in excitement

Racehorse ownership should be viewed as an investment in a unique and exciting experience.  Yes, there can be huge return on investment in some cases, however it is important to remember financial returns are not guaranteed when dealing with livestock. There are many variables that add to the risk, therefore a first-time buyer must adopt a realistic approach when investing in their first horse, whether that’s through an affordable ownership option like a syndicate or sole ownership.

“Making money from racehorses is not easy and very few racehorses will return a profit, so we would encourage first time owners to enter it for the excitement and pleasure rather than as an investment,’ says Singh. “A good horse can still return a good financial return, but it shouldn’t be the overriding reason of entering into ownership.”

Richard Alvin, founder of the Business Champion Awards and the owner of two racehorses through his company Scuderia Di Vincitori adding to Singh’s comments saying:” now entering my third year of racehorse ownership and through my trainer Alice Haynes and Tattersalls we have found a cracking new horse whose three wins means the capital purchase is already paid back, but the first year, with a different trainer, was definitely about enjoying being at the race course and not about any form of financial return.”

The ‘breeze’ for the Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up Sale will take place at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Monday 17th April starting at 9.00am, with the sale taking place on Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th April after the conclusion of racing on the first two days of Newmarket’s three-day Craven Meeting. www.tattersalls.com

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