Costs of ownership
The sport of kings... but is racehorse ownership accessible to everyone? Our last Ownership Costs survey (in 2015) revealed the annual costs of keeping a horse in training was £22,595 for a horse running on the flat and for a jumps horse the average was £16,325. The ROA VAT Solution can help owners reclaim VAT on these costs.
Sharing a horse with friends in a syndicate or partnership obviously reduce the costs considerably.
But how are these costs made up? Are there any hidden costs that owners - potential and current - should look out for?
Sole Owner and Company Ownership
Payable to the British Horseracing Authority, there are several registration fees that are applicable when setting up as a sole owner. Some fees are subject to annual re-registration.
ROA members receive a 20% discount on most registration fees. A full list of these, and the discounts can be found here.
Fees apply to Registered Owners. However, if you are setting up a Partnership or Syndicate, there may be additional fees involved.
All owners in a Partnership (between 2 – 12) must already be registered sole or company owners. The additional fees to set up a Partnership are as follows:
- One sole owner involved in the Partnership must also register Authority to in order for their trainer to be able to act on behalf of the Partnership, though this may already have been done as part of the initial owner registration (if a Ready to Race or Complete Racing Package was purchased).
- Partnerships can use colours that are already registered to one of the sole or company owners involved, unless the partners wish to register a new set specifically for that Partnership. There is no fee to share colours.
- If owners are registered for VAT as individuals, then they can only reclaim VAT if they own at least 50% of a horse. Therefore, if a Partnership consists of several individuals with less than 50% each, a joint application will need to be made to create a new VAT number for the Partnership to reclaim VAT as an entity.
Syndicates and Racing Clubs
Every registered Syndicate requires at least one named Syndicator, who must already be a registered sole or company owner. The rest of the syndicate members needn’t be registered owners. The fees are as follows:
- One named Syndicator must also register Authority to Act in order for their trainer to be able to act on behalf of the Syndicate, though this may already have been done as part of the initial owner registration.
- As with Partnerships, Syndicates can use colours that are already registered to one of the named syndicators, unless they wish to register a new set specifically for the Syndicate.
- In order for a Syndicate to reclaim VAT on the costs of ownership, it must register for VAT as an entity.
Other Registration Fees
Other registration fees may apply to owners once their initial ownership has been set up. Other common fees incurred by owners include Registration of Horse Name and fees relating to changing the set-up of a co-ownership.
There are a number of expenses when putting a horse in training – some you might expect – and some you might not!
- Training Fees
- Pre / out of training fees
- Vet, Physio, Dentist
- Gallops Fees
- Supplements / wormer
Some trainers will include a number of the above costs in their basic rate. You should check this in advance, and ensure these basic costs are covered in your Training Agreement. A template copy of this can be found here.
If the trainer has their own gallops then this fee may be included in the daily rate. If the trainer uses shared facilities then you are likely to pay a gallops fee on top of your daily training fee. This is normally charged straight to your racing bank account, once your horse goes into full training. Prices can be split per month, or in the case of special gallops per horse, per month.
Newmarket has a number of gallops, of which there is one fee to use the general gallops, and additional fees payable if your trainer works your horse at one of the “special” gallops: the Watered Gallop, Limekilns Golden Mile and the Round Gallop. Please ask your trainer for a up-to-date list of gallops fees.
Similarly, Malton has two gallops – Langton Wold and Highfield, which are charged separately. Please ask your trainer for a up-to-date list of gallops fees.
- Epsom, Lambourn and Middleham
There is just one flat fee for the gallops at these training centres. Please ask your trainer for a up-to-date list of gallops fees.
Other fees from trainers to watch out for:
- Jockey Schooling Fees and Retainers
Sometimes a professional jockey will be asked to ride your horse in a preparatory piece of work, or perhaps over obstacles, at home to give their opinion on your horses’ fitness and/or a guide on the sort of conditions that might favour your horse. Jockeys often school horses free of charge, in the hope that they may get the ride on the track, though if the jockey is high in demand there may be a charge for their services.
If the services of a particular jockey are retained by your trainer or yard, then he or she may be paid a regular fee. You should check whether your trainer retains any jockeys, and whether you will be required to pay a percentage of the retainer. Again, this fee should be detailed in your Training Agreement.
- Trainer’s commission
Trainer’s commission: trainers may charge a commission when assisting with the purchase of a horse (or may split commission with another agent) or, more commonly, may charge commission on the sale of any horse trained by them. The normal commission rate is 5%. Any commission should be set out in the training agreement and for the avoidance of of doubt, initialled by both parties.
- Additional facilities on or off-site e.g. ad-hoc use of a spa or swimming pool may incur extra charges.
- Behavioural specialists may be drafted in to assist with specific problems: commonly stalls training for Flat horses, or to help with particularly keen or ‘quirky’ horses. These services can sometimes amount to several hundreds of pounds a time, and the owner will often be billed direct, therefore it is important to understand whether your trainer regularly uses these types of services.
To avoid being liable for unexpected bills, you should ensure your trainer details all ‘extra’ fees within your training agreement, and that any additional liabilities must only be incurred after due consultation with the owner(s) of the horse.
So you’ve registered your ownership, found a trainer and have had a horse in training for several weeks. How much will it cost for your horse to actually race?
- Entry Processing Fees: an additional charge is payable to the BHA for every entry processed.
- Equine Infectious Diseases Services: for every entry made, an additional £1.20 payment will be due to the Horserace Betting Levy Board for the benefit of the Equine Infectious Diseases Services of the Animal Health Trust.
- Welfare of former racehorses: £1.25 is payable for every entry, for the benefit of former racehorses.
- Foreign races: If your horse is entered to run in a race overseas, there will be an additional administrative charge payable to the BHA.
There are different fees for Flat and Jump Jockeys, As from 1 February 2023 these fees are:
- Flat: £157.90 (plus PRIS £20.52 + CEI £3.91)
- Jump: £214.63 (plus PRIS £27.90 + CEI £3.91)
If the jockey is registered for VAT then this will be charged at the applicable rate.
Owners also contribute £3.91 per ride to the Career Ending Insurance Scheme (CEI) for Jockeys to ensure that jockeys whose careers are ended prematurely by injury are protected.
If your horse has been declared a non-runner after 9am on the day of the race, you will need to pay the jockey 50% of the full riding fee.
In addition to the above fees, owners must also pay an additional sum equivalent to 13% of the riding fee to the Trustees of the Professional Riders Insurance Scheme (PRIS).
Other racing costs to watch out for:
- Transport: sometimes horses will be transported together or ‘share’ transport to the races. In these cases all owners should be charged equally for their share of the transportation cost.
- Racing Expenses: these are normally for the stable staf and the trainer. As with transport, these expenses should be shared equally between all owners with runners on the card.
- Routine veterinary treatment or farriery on course: such as a post-race scope, replacing lost shoes etc. Some racecourses offer free veterinary treatment on course, whereas others may send an invoice post-race.
HAVE A QUESTION?
Please contact the ROA office on 01183 385 680 or email i[email protected] and we will be happy to assist.