Monday 2 July 2012

The Rip-off Races On

Blimey!  I’ve clearly stirred up a veritable hornets’ nest with the last blog on some syndicate managers’ shenanigans.  Don’t get me wrong – many syndicates are extremely well run, and bring great pleasure to lots of owners.  My criticism was levied at managers who make huge mark-ups on the sales price of horses prior to syndication.

Mind you, in a week when “Big Boy” Barclays’ bankers have been in the limelight for fixing Libor rates, it pales into insignificance.  Or does it?  Arrogance towards customers, no proper regulation, open abuse of the system, readily exploitable and opportunistic culture, self-serving lifestyle, complete lack of transparency and a love of Bollinger .... and that’s just a few of the syndicate managers!

So are there other dodgy commercial practices in syndication that need to be looked at?  Some of the whispers I’ve picked up cover luck money, back-handers on purchase, discounts and rebates not being passed on to the syndicate members, overly generous claims for management expenses, mishandling of VAT reclaims, duplicated mileage and spurious hospitality.  It will be interesting to see if the Racing Post’s series on syndicates even hints at any of this mismanagement.  I suspect that it will present syndication through very rose-tinted spectacles.  I’ll comment further once I’ve read the articles.

On a much more solemn note, what a tragedy to befall Campbell Gillies.  That stirring day at the Cheltenham Festival on Brindisi Breeze now seems such a distant happy memory.  Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and all who knew him.


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