One can be in the game of horses not just for the money bit but be­cause it is a truly in­ter­na­tional sport and the adren­a­line rush that it pro­vides is like none other

MillionaireAsia India - - Contents - By Tegh­bir Brar

– In­dulge in the game of horses for the adren­a­line rush that it pro­vides

Horse rac­ing is a sport like none other, the chal­lenge of win­ning is un­like any other. It is said that among English peer­age, in the olden days, sui­cide rates used to be high but no lord ever took that step if he owned a promis­ing two-year old run­ner. Own­er­ship of horses is a fas­ci­nat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence where money doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean suc­cess and one plus one rarely equals two. One must un­der­stand that rac­ing is a truly in­ter­na­tional sport and among those that own horses are Her Majesty The Queen, His High­ness The Aga Khan, the rulers of Dubai, Qatar and nu­mer­ous other roy­als. Many big names in the busi­ness world too are in­volved in the sport and have been for cen­turies.

Own­ing a race­horse is an ex­pen­sive propo­si­tion but most who get into it are the sorts who do it for the joy of it rather than the money. Own­ing a horse in In­dia means, apart from the pur­chase price of a horse, it is go­ing to cost about ` 30,000 a month in main­te­nance and train­ing costs. How ex­pen­sive can

horse be? The high­est price ever paid at auc­tion for a horse was $16 mil­lion for an un­raced colt sub­se­quently named, “The Green Mon­key”. Well, he couldn’t run a yard and never won a race. That’s the va­garies of rac­ing… there is never a right way or a wrong way. From an in­vest­ment point of view, per­son has to look at things in the long-term. If you want to have fun... now that’s the X fac­tor, ask any owner, the adren­a­line rush of see­ing your horse win is some­thing else.

In­dian rac­ing is run by clubs; Ban­ga­lore Turf Club with a bet­ting turnover of ` 1,800 crores is the big daddy of In­dian rac­ing. But, how­ever big that amount may sound, it pales when com­pared with Ja­pan, which han­dles $22.5 bil­lion in bet­ting on horse rac­ing an­nu­ally. A per­cent­age of this money is taken by the rac­ing ju­ris­dic­tion to run its af­fairs, dis­trib­ute prize money to own­ers even as a large amount goes to char­ity too. In In­dia, horses are bred by var­i­ous stud farms spread out across the coun­try. Th­ese horses are of­fered for sale to own­ers. To get an owner’s li­cense one must be ap­proved by the club to see if one is a t and proper per­son. Tax records and in­come state­ments are checked to see to it that a per­son can af­ford to pay for the horse’s up­keep.

Horses en­ter the race­course at the age of two in March (ev­ery thor­ough­bred has its birth­day on New Year’s day) and they are a part of the race in Novem­ber of the same year. Horses run for prize money paid by the club. The rich­est race in the coun­try is the In­dian Derby run on the rst Sun­day of Fe­bru­ary in Mum­bai with a purse of ` 3.5 crores, where the win­ner gets 60 per­cent of that money. In­dia has rac­ing un­der aegis of the fol­low­ing clubs;

The rich­est race in the coun­try is the In­dian Derby held in Mum­bai with a purse of ` 3.5 crores where the win­ner gets 60 per­cent of that money

Royal West­ern In­dia Turf Club (RWITC), which con­ducts rac­ing in Mum­bai from Novem­ber un­til end-April and a mon­soon sea­son

Pune mid-July un­til end-Oc­to­ber. Royal Cal­cutta Turf Club (RCTC) con­ducts races in the mon­soon and win­ter sea­son. Hy­der­abad Race Club (HRC) runs two sea­sons, a mon­soon and win­ter sea­son on two sep­a­rate tracks de­pend­ing on the sea­son. Ban­ga­lore Turf Club runs a sum­mer sea­son from mid-May till mid-Au­gust and a win­ter sea­son, which runs Novem­ber to mid-March. The Madras Race Club a sum­mer meet­ing in Ooty and a win­ter meet­ing in Chen­nai. The new­est Turf Au­thor­ity Mysore Race Club, con­ducts three sea­sons; Sum­mer, Mon­soon and Win­ter. There is a race club at Delhi, which con­ducts rac­ing un­der the aegis of RWITC. Their sea­son runs from Au­gust un­til mid-April. You have to sta­ble your horse with a li­censed trainer at any of th­ese venues.

In In­dia, male horses don’t carry much resid­ual value post their rac­ing ca­reers, even as in other coun­tries, top male run­ners re­tire to stud as stallions. That’s where the real gravy is, Amer­ica’s lead­ing stal­lion Tapit com­mands a fee of $350,000 per mat­ing and he cov­ered about 125 mares in 2016. In In­dia, well-per­formed fe­male run­ners carry a high resid­ual value and many breed­ers would buy them back for breed­ing. Is rac­ing a thor­ough­bred, a wise in­vest­ment? It pos­si­bly is, but re­quires pa­tience and the right at­ti­tude. The most pres­ti­gious race in In­dia is the In­dian Derby run at Mum­bai and a horse gets to run the Derby only once in its life­time, when it is four years old.

I own a few horses in rac­ing but I am a breeder. Our job is to con­ceive and bring up th­ese thor­ough­breds un­til they turn two. Once they go to the track, the trainer takes over and pre­pares them for rac­ing. Own­ing a sta­ble of horses is like run­ning a sports fran­chise at a frac­tion of the cost. The sport is dy­namic and global with things chang­ing very fast. The his­tory and the glamour of rac­ing is unique and be­lieve me, the high of see­ing your silks rst past the post is some­thing to be ex­pe­ri­enced to be be­lieved. All in all, own­ing a race­horse could be a great in­vest­ment for the fun and the sort of peo­ple you meet. Does it make busi­ness sense? If you’re lucky and hit a big time horse, you earn a huge amount in stake money. In­dia’s high­est earn­ing race­horse, the win­ner of the In­dian Derby 2016 has earned well, in ex­cess of ` 7 crores. Why would you buy a mass-pro­duced Lam­borgh­ini? Own­ing an In­dian Derby win­ner puts you in a far more unique club as there are only 75 of them so far, among them Ma­hara­jas, bil­lion­aires and sim­ply put big boys and the cream of so­ci­ety! So, if you want to rub shoul­ders, and com­pete against the uber rich this is it… as it is not about the money. It is as sim­ple as say­ing, “Is your horse faster than mine? ”Let’s race and nd out and may the best horse win!

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