Ownership Costs Surveys
Ownership costs revealed - 16 May 2017
One of the themes which came out of the 2016 National Racehorse Owners Survey was that owners want more information on costs and trainers.
In response to this, an ROA survey of racehorse ownership costs has revealed data on the annual costs of keeping a horse in training in 2015.
For a Flat horse the average cost was £22,595 and for a Jumps horse the average was £16,325.
These costs include all training and racing costs – i.e. training fees, gallops, farrier, transport, vets, entries, jockeys, registration fees, pre/out of training costs etc. The average cost for Flat and Jumps horses combined is £20,444 (this is after weighting results to correctly represent the proportion of Flat vs Jumps horses in training).
In 2010 the average cost for both codes combined was £18,651 - suggesting overall ownership costs have increased by (on average) 1.8 % over the 5 years. The latter increase should be treated with some caution due to the small sample sizes involved.
The average training costs specifically – i.e. training fees, gallops, farrier, supplements, clipping and pre/out of training costs were £16,491 (Flat) and £11,847 (Jumps). Costs of horse insurance and VAT are excluded from all figures quoted.
When the 'cost per run' calculations are related to prize-money levels, owners may question whether they should be running their horses in races worth less than £3,000 to the winner. This is particularly true of owners of Jumps horses where not only the 'cost per run' is higher but also the risk of injury.
There are obvious variations between the cost of having a horse with what we classify as a 'big' trainer vs a 'small' trainer. These definitions are based on a combined ranking of prize-money and number of races won in 2015. It is probably best to look at the differences here based on training costs (as defined above), excluding the more variable elements like racing (entries, jockeys, transport, racing expenses) and veterinary costs.
When choosing a trainer, the basic training rate per day is likely to be a key consideration for owners. The daily rate averages are £44 for a Flat horse and £39 for a Jumps horse.
For the 28 Flat trainers in our sample, the highest daily rate was £75, with 10 out of 28 charging £50 or more per day (vs only 5 out of 28 for Jumps trainers in our sample). The highest daily rate for a Jumps trainer was £57 per day.
We can make a direct comparison between the 2010 and 2015 surveys by looking at the daily rates for trainers who were represented in both surveys (i.e. 10 Flat trainers and 12 Jumps trainers). This shows that on a like-for-like basis daily training rates have increased by 7.4% (1.4% pa) for Flat trainers and 8.2% (1.6% pa) for Jumps trainers. Findings here tally with the earlier finding that overall ownership costs have increased by only 1.8% pa over the last 5 years.
With the smaller sample sizes, the regional comparisons we can make in daily training rates are limited. However, as in previous surveys, Newmarket (£55 per day on average) and the Lambourn area (£50 per day) remain the most expensive places to have a Flat horse trained. Yorkshire, of course, is also an important training area for Flat horses but here the average daily training rate is notably lower at £37 per day.
The west of England remains a 'power base' for training Jumps horses, and average daily rates here in 2015 are comparable with the Lambourn area at £43 per day on average. Daily training rates are notably lower in Wales and Scotland at £33 per day on average.
A full breakdown of the average cost of owning and running a racehorse is shown in the data tables, but below we have grouped together the various elements into four broad categories:
Charlie Liverton, ROA chief executive, said “last year’s National Racehorse Owner Survey revealed that owners want more information on costs and trainers - 44% of owners said there wasn’t enough information available. We know from the national survey that potential new owners are taking more decision steps and are more likely to research online, so we hope the findings of the ROA ownership costs survey will help to bridge this data gap.
The average cost findings also underline the importance of directing prize-money toward the lower and middle tier fixtures, where most horses are competing as well as highlighting that to cover the cost of getting the average horse to the races, it needs to be racing for a total prize fund of not less than £5,000.”
The higher racing costs for Flat horses is simply a reflection of the greater number on average a Flat horse runs. The higher veterinary costs associated with Jumps horses is of note here.
We are very grateful to all members who took part in the survey.
In recognition of their efforts, respondents were invited to choose a gift card or charitable donation. As a result, the ROA has made a payment of £400 each to the Retraining of Racehorses and Racing Welfare charities.
Further information can be found in these documents:
Owners costs survey summary points
Owners costs survey 2015 - Methodology
Survey and analysis conducted by Ian Murray.
Training costs survey 2010
A summary can be found here: Training Costs Survey 2010 Summary
For further details please download the Training Costs Summary and the Training Costs Breakdown