Thursday 1 May 2014

The Scandal of Racehorse Administration – Time to Stop the Profiteering

Fortunately for the vast majority of you who read the blog, you don’t have to fill in the endless forms and complete the arcane administration associated with registering horses. As a result, you probably also don’t know how much it costs. Since setting up Owners for Owners, 90% + of our post is now connected with racing admin, and I would say 60% of all telephone calls likewise. We often get multiple letters from Weatherbys, followed by multiple telephone calls – all very time-consuming and, I have to say, needlessly expensive. Until I know more to the contrary, I’m going to assume that many of these costs are actually driving revenue streams and profits for organisations such as Weatherbys. If I was being more generous I would say that all they are doing is recovering the costs ….. but that is because the processes aren’t joined up, and are paper-driven and extremely antiquated. I’ll be doing a few more blogs on this subject. But let’s start with a summary of some of these registration fees, so you can see why I’m ranting a bit about it. All the costs below are inclusive of VAT. They are up-to-date: we’ve just been through them twice with our two French-bred horses, Jolievitesse and Lord Ben Stack. There are extra charges associated with importing them.

Registrations at Outset
As an Owner£89.10
Joint Ownership (this and Racing Partnership below are alternatives)£95.30
Racing Partnership£336.80
Authority to Act (Trainer)£57.60
Colours (the owner has to register colours) £48.60
Shared Colours (the owner then shares them with the partnership) £31.60
Horse Name £144.90
Owner’s Sponsorship (necessary to get a D2, see below)£42.40
D2 VAT Authorisation (necessary for application to HMRC)£60.30
VAT Admin (once registered for VAT by HMRC)£42.40

Annual Re-registrations: have to be renewed every year. Amazingly, no discount even if you register your colours for 20 years!
Authority to Act £57.60
Colours £48.60
Shared Colours £31.60
Joint Ownership £24.60
VAT Admin£42.40

French Bred Horse:
Identity Check£45.80
Lodge Import Certificate£152.00
French Export Certificate£42.36
French Registration of Name (to race the horse back in France)£92.51

That little lot adds up to £1,486.47. Throughout the year, according to the BHA Racing Factbook, there are 28,486 different horses in training (2011 figures). While recognising that not all of these may apply every year, we’re still talking of somewhere over £30m …. and then of course there are entry fees. Again, I’ll be doing a blog on this subject soon. We ought to be paid appearance money, rather than having to pay to enter. Lots of cages to rattle on this one. Paying the money out is bad enough, but the inevitable hassle must be a big turn-off for many owners, particularly those in co-ownerships and larger partnerships. Time to change it …. radically.

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