Tuesday 26 June 2012

Would you buy a share in “The Rip-off”?

Like many owners, I regularly receive flyers and marketing materials from racing syndicates, and I’m always interested in looking at the way they frame prices and costs.  Unfortunately in our industry there is an extremely common and, as far as I am concerned, very pernicious practice that’s regularly applied.  Here’s an example.

Syndicate manager goes to UK sales and buys a horse, The Rip-off, for £6,000 + VAT.  Pretty cheap and probably with a few negatives on conformation or breeding.  Never mind, it’ll be a “fun horse”.  Put together the sales bumf and offer it at £2,500 + VAT for a one-twelfth share.  A £6,000 horse is now priced at £30,000.  If you challenge the manager, he’ll probably say there are a lot of associated sales costs to justify it.  Utter nonsense.  If you add up the buyer’s premium, bloodstock agent’s commission, vetting and transport, it won’t exceed £3,000.
Three months’ initial keep, breaking fees, BHA fees, turnout, farrier, clipping, etc., etc., might come to another £3,000, but that will be covered by the monthly subscriptions.

Total cost for purchase and the first quarter therefore cannot exceed £12,000.  The syndicate manager, though, is now sitting on a 300% profit margin of £18,000 minimum.  Do this ten times a year and he’s got a cool £180,000!!

What should you do about it?  Firstly, never buy into a horse without seeing a fully transparent statement of account for the purchase and associated costs.  Secondly, refuse to be ripped off, and negotiate a fair price.

Thirdly, it might be far better to come to Owners for Owners, where we never adopt this practice.  There are no hidden margins on the purchase of the horse.  This is a scandalous practice.  I’m going to ask the trade body for syndicates what they think to it.  Should be an interesting discussion.

Friday 22 June 2012

First Owners for Owners blog - A Cup Half Full

Welcome to the first blog of Owners for Owners.  Many of them will be written by Jon Hughes, but other owners will be making guest appearances, including the acerbic views of The Curmudgeon commenting on all the things that go wrong in racing. The blog is on 1st and 15th of each month.

A Cup Half Full

There is certainly no shortage of challenges and self-inflicted wounds in horseracing.  Persistently weak leadership in the BHA;  a serious funding crisis;  inept handling of the Tote sale;  a surfeit of low-grade racing;  a customer experience at many tracks that remains lamentable despite the efforts of Racing for Change (or as The Curmudgeon calls it, “Racing for Small Change”);  narrow-minded and non-collaborative factions trying to beat three bells out of each other all the time, rather than working together for the good of racing;  and a declining breeding, training and owning industry as a result of austerity and recession so lots of subjects to air on the blog.

And yet racing also remains capable of stirring passion, pleasure and total absorption.  It is a marvellous sport.  As a friend recently commented about owning horses:  “It is definitely an addiction and there is no known cure.”  Thank goodness!  Throughout the blog, though, we will be looking at the positives and not just the negatives.  In our modest way we intend to suggest some recommendations for action that might improve the industry and the experience of racing.  Yes, it is a cup half full, not half empty.