Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Sonia Price
Features Writer
7:45 AM 10th July 2021

What’s Not To Like In A Share In A Gift Horse? Yours From Fifty Quid

Image by Andreas Iken from Pixabay
Image by Andreas Iken from Pixabay
We all deserve a breather, a break, a night’s sleep without strange dreams. We all deserve something to look forward to, something to excite us.

This is why in the next couple of months, or at least definitely before Christmas, I have promised myself a racehorse. Did you hear that? That’s not a fifteen-year-old point-to-point horse who once got out of his horsebox at Bramham horse trials. Not a Connemara that we can’t be sure is a horse or pony - hitting the measuring stick at just maybe a nudge over 14.2hh. No Sir/Madam, mine’s going to be a proper racehorse. The real McCoy of horses.

He (for the sake of word economy - but this is certainly not to diminish the lady racehorses who can certainly give the boys a run for their money) will definitely be around 16 hands high - a funny way of measuring horses as they don’t have hands but they do have feet - which is big enough and definitely horse-sized. He will be better looked after, better insured, better groomed and shod, and better trained than I could ever hope to be.

Dedicated stable-hands will look after him like a new-born and they will spend half a morning cleaning his ears, brushing his hair and fashioning a very eye-catching chequerboard design on his incendiary backside before he goes out in Ripon or Thirsk. I have promised myself this much after well over a year of monetary, sensory and certainly ‘racehorserly’ (sic) deprivation.
Before you ask “How on earth can you afford a racehorse?”

Photo by Anastasiia Krutota on Unsplash
Photo by Anastasiia Krutota on Unsplash
Let me come clean. I would have a very small part in a racehorse. I would of course be sharing him with other people. I am advised that more than 50% of active racehorses are owned by some sort of syndicate. One organisation that has democratised owning a share in a racehorse is called Owners Group.

If I live on home-made soup and cancel my hair appointment I should soon have around fifty pounds spare to treat myself to a proper gift that really keeps on giving. What else could give me so much to show off about for my fifty pounds? After I had checked on-line for special gifts around this sum, I found that I didn’t need a celebrity make-up artist’s lipstick gift-set for fifty quid almost as much as I didn’t need a novelty dinosaur taco-holder at £41. Definitely not when I can get a share in a racehorse for a one-off yearly fee of £50. And this is the point. A share in a racehorse is surely the way to go - If only because I can call myself a racehorse owner with the same degree of ridiculousness that I can announce that I am an Irish princess of sorts because my mother descends from the Kings of Tara - like just about all the other women from Ireland. You will be able to recognise my racehorses when I build up a glut of them. They will have names like: Arriviste, Parvenu, Wannabe or Gotta Be Kidding.

And this is where those who launch racing syndicates really flex their marketing moxie. They know that lots of us like to be affiliated with beauty, grace and hopefully greatness but it is well beyond the means of most of us. It leaves a tantalising vacuum to fill. We also want to have some part in a potentially very much more glamorous and exciting future. And who could blame anyone for that? Everyone’s a winner!

Owning a racehorse can bring a lot of cheer. My friend has shares in several, and after we have done with the usual English pleasantries about the weather, we might talk about what is for dinner and what tipple we will have with it. But having some shares in several racehorses means there is an extra course of conversation. Alan has shares in several well-chosen racehorses. Each is an individual personality, each has different talents and quirks and all are winners. I think one of the really worthwhile benefits in having a stake in racehorse ownership is the inside education into the hard work, dedication and skill which goes into bringing out the best in a horse. The trainers must take into account which course conditions will suit their horses and a host of other factors.

You will get a feel for what makes some very special horses and elite jockeys a natural dream team - I am thinking of Frankie Dettori and his favourite girl Enable). This can be instructive in human life. Don’t we all feel better and do better with like-minded people who challenge us? On the more practical front, Owners Group produces a very informative magazine with bulletins from the trainers about each horse’s development. It’s a lot like a child’s school report, identifying the strengths, areas for improvement and the potential of those horses in their charge, and their prescription for success. It is illuminating and touching to hear about the commitment these talented professionals have in calling forth a horse’s real, exciting, strutting, nostril-flaring, veins-bulging, pulse-racing promise.

Having a share in a racehorse is something to get enthused about. Apart from receiving a share in the horse’s prize money, there is the chance to have visits to the yard to meet your horse. You can also be entered into a draw to meet the owners and trainers in their private enclosure at race meetings. This is my idea of a good gift to myself or to a loved one. Like a good book, it is a journey of development which plays out on the track and reveals the rewards of teamwork as well as the turns of good or bad luck on the day. Share ownership offers something to think on and talk about long after the novelty of a dinosaur taco-holder has waned.