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
– 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!