What is a ‘syndicate’?

In horse racing, a ‘syndicate’ is a group of like-minded people that comes together or, indeed, is brought together by a syndicator – who can be an individual or a company, must be registered with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) – to purchase ownership of a racehorse. The cost of buying and training a racehorse is prohibitively expensive for most people, at least if they do so for themselves. The idea behind horse syndication is that each syndicate member buys a fixed share, say, 2.5%, 5% or 10%, in one or more horses and makes a contribution towards the annual costs – such as farrier, veterinary and, of course, training, fees – needed to keep the horse fit, healthy and ready to run for its life.

In other words, instead of the whole cost of ownership being laid at the door of one, extremely wealthy individual, it is split between multiple part-owners. Of course, owners also share any winnings their horses accumulate during their involvement but, even so, most people consider syndicate membership as a relatively inexpensive way to enjoy personal involvement with, and a stake in, racehorses, rather than a lucrative investment opportunity. Of course, it is possible make large of sums of money from horse syndication but, for many owners, the best way to make a small fortune from horse racing is to start with a large one.

How much does it cost to own a racehorse?

Depending on its pedigree, physique and, if it has raced, its performance on the racecourse, a racehorse can cost anything from several thousand to hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of pounds. The typical initial purchase price is around £15,000. Of course, the initial purchase price is just the start; thereafter racehorse owners incur annual costs for training, insurance, veterinary care, registration, entry and transport. According to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the annual cost of owning a racehorse is, on average, approximately £23,000 for a horse that races on the Flat and approximately £17,000 for a horse that races under National Hunt Rules.

The prohibitive cost of outright, or sole, ownership is one reason why many British racehorses are owned by syndicates or, in other words, groups of people who band together, under the auspices of a licensed trainer, or syndicate manager, to share the cost of owning one or more horses. Each member of the syndicate owns a small share – typically 2.5%, 5% or 10% – in the syndicated horse(s) and either pays a one-off fee, or an upfront fee, plus ongoing monthly training fees.