For those interested in making the move into racehorse ownership in the post-coronavirus world, syndication will more than likely be the way forward.
With purse strings tightened more than ever and compromised prize-money levels firmly in the spotlight at the moment, sharing the cost of an expensive hobby will make more sense for most.
That is why professional gambler and racing pundit Andy Gibson has set up a new syndicate with North Yorkshire-based trainer Micky Hammond – and it is one with specific targets in mind.
The first horse purchased by The Cheltenham Trail and Cleeve Racing Club is Kayf Adventure, formerly trained by Philip Hobbs, with the intention of running in the veterans’ series.
Gibson has realised that some of the races in the series may not be as competitive as an open-aged 0-150 handicap chase, yet pre-Covid the qualifiers were worth almost £20,000 to the winner.
With the final at Sandown, won by Jepeck last season, worth more than £60,000 to the winner, it could be a lucrative venture with the right horse.
“I went to Doncaster sales with a short-list and a budget,” said Gibson, who has worked for At The Races, Racing TV and William Hill radio.
“On that list was Grand Roi, who I expected to be out of our range, but I didn’t expect him to make £400,000!
“A couple of others went for more than we were prepared to go to – but Kayf Adventure ticked a lot of our boxes, and we got him for £20,000. The under bidder was Derek O’Connor for Donald McCain.
“Kayf Adventure will turn 10 in January, which means he will be eligible for the veterans’ races. The terms of the syndicate are for a two-year-period, so he will be eligible for 20 races during that time.
“Before the shutdown those races were worth £18,000 to the winner, with £6,000 for second almost. Were he to win just one of those he’s almost paid for himself, and if he was placed in a couple more he’s making money.
“Before he qualifies for those races there are a couple of races at Wetherby, like the Bobby Renton and a race at the Charlie Hall meeting he could run in.”
Mindful of uncertain times affecting racing, and the wider world, Gibson hopes his syndicate can benefit from a business arrangement which differs from the rest.
He added: “Obviously prize money is a hot topic at the moment, and we are unsure what it will be next season.
“But Kayf Adventure is relatively lightly-raced, having had just 21 runs, and on his penultimate outing he was placed in a valuable Ascot handicap.
“Given members will pay just a one-off fee without any training fees, we’re hoping we offer something slightly different to other syndicates out there – because without those fees, we can look for better quality horses.
“Micky then gets a slightly higher percentage of prize money won.”
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