Upping The Stakes
A day at the racecourse always gets the pulse racing but imagine if you could part own a promising horse without the resources of oligarchs and sheiks, and have access to training, race meetings and the winner’s enclosure
Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, which has won all the five classics and over £12 million in prize money, not to mention produced seven champions and one world champion (Harbinger), has launched a northern division and harnessed the top trainers of the region.
The venture puts small groups of people together to share ownership and the risks of top-quality racehorses, in northern based syndicates. It’s headed up by Jason Fildes, who works closely with Highclere’s Henry Herbert, who came up with the syndicate concept, the son of the late seventh Earl of Carnarvon, whose family seat is the setting for Downton Abbey, and John Warren, the bloodstock advisor to the Queen, who bought the northern horses.
“In Australia and the US, 75 per cent of racehorses are owned by groups of four or more people and in this country only about 30 per cent,” Jason explained. “There’s been huge growth in interest here in the north following Highclere’s success, as the cost of owning a thoroughbred is so prohibitive. If you share the costs you share the pleasure. Nothing can beat the thrill of being in the winner’s enclosure.”
The new syndicates’ horses are placed under the stewardship of the region’s most successful trainers. This includes Mark Johnston, Britain’s most victorious trainer of all time. Last summer he celebrated his 4,194th victory, with Poet’s Society at York Racecourse, to break the record number of British winners for a racehorse trainer. Overall victories have earned over £50 million in prize money during his career.
Based in Middleham, he started training in 1987. A trained vet, Johnston started out with a handful of horses and now has over 200. In 2007 he moved to his current yard, Kingsley Stables, and is training three horses for Highclere this season. “Highclere is a very successful syndicate and there has been a gap in the north for people who want to part own a high-class horse,” he says.
“Although we say that you shouldn’t expect to get rich, it’s the chance to fulfil a dream and an experience you can buy. We train horses for all types of owners, from the elite sole owners to partnerships and members of syndicates, and they are welcome at the yard and the gallops.”
There are 20 shares in each syndicate. The cost per share is £9,500 plus VAT with a second-year cost of £4,950 plus VAT with no further costs over the two years. All prize money is divided between the shareholders. When the horse runs you will have owner’s badges and a complimentary lunch in the owners’ and trainers’ restaurant or in a hospitality box.
To find out more, email Jason Fildes at firstname.lastname@example.org
Highclere – Jason Fildes