Owning a racehorse: What to expect

Luke-Dace-2014-009So you’re thinking of investing in a racehorse? Then welcome to the captivating club of the ‘sport of kings’ – you won’t regret it! Horseracing is one of the most exhilarating sports, and can provide a hefty return on investment. But if you’re still a little apprehensive on whether or not to invest, or you’re not sure what to expect, then this article is for you.

I’ve answered a few concerns that prospective racehorse owners might have on what to expect once they buy a horse:

1. Do I need to register the horse?
All racehorses in the UK need to be registered with the British Horseracing Authority. You’ll need to do this through Weatherbys, who manage the administration of British horseracing. If your horse’s name hasn’t yet been registered, then you’ll also need to do so with Weatherby’s. For more information visit

2. How often will my horse run?
There is no set amount of times that a racehorse will run throughout a season – they are live animals and as such can be affected by injury or other factors. Most racehorses tend to run between three and 10 races per season, depending on their age and physical fitness. Any good trainer will be able to tell you how many runs you are likely to see from the horse during a season, based on their physical strength and performance, although this can of course alter if your horse needs time off to recover from an injury, or due to setbacks.

3. Choosing your colours:
Each racehorse has its own set of colours for jockey silks. There are many colour combinations to choose, from 18 basic colours, but you’ll need to check that the colour you want is available. You can check this at the BHA website ( before registering them with Weatherby’s. Many owners see their colours as a family coat of arms, as once you register the colours, they can be yours to keep forever.

4. Can I watch my horse in training?
All good trainers will let owners go to watch their horse during training. This is usually arranged by appointment, and the best time to visit is during the morning when the horse is out on the gallops in action. You can also arrange with the trainer to meet the stable hand looking after your horse on a day-to-day basis.

5. Will I be able to go to every race to watch my horse?
Each racehorse receives a certain amount of passes per race, so if you are a sole owner you will be able to attend every race your horse enters for free. The amount of benefits an owner receives will depend on the individual racecourse, but you will receive an owner’s badge that will allow you access to the paddock, and there are usually extras such as passes for family and friends and complimentary refreshments on offer. Going to the races is great fun, exhilarating, and of course very fulfilling if your horse wins the race!

6. What else do I need to consider?
Owners are liable to claims under the Animals’ Act for damage or injury caused to a third party by their horses. It is therefore recommended that all owners ensure they have third party liability insurance for any horses they have in training.

A good trainer will be able to guide you through the process of buying a racehorse. If you’d like some advice on the topic, don’t hesitate to contact Luke Dace at