Inside The Rails – At the Stables

Last week we looked at the ownership experience at the racecourse, but this is only a small part of the ownership experience.  Even a sprinter will only probably run around 20 races a year and this leaves at least 345 days where owners are not racing with their horse.  There is plenty to experience away from the racecourse however and it is great to be able to get inside the gates of a racing stable and see how they operate.

Sole owners will deal with their trainer themselves or through a racing manager, whilst shareholders in syndicate ownership or members of a racing club will do so through their syndicator or club manager.  That does not mean that you cannot get involved though.  All syndicates and racing clubs should provide opportunities to get to the stables on a regular basis.

If you ever attend a horse racing related charity auction, you might see a morning on the gallops with a leading trainer going for big money and probably rightly so as it is a real chance to get inside the gates of a top stables and see possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of top class racehorses.  What you might not know is that even as a small owner you should get the opportunity to do this for free!

If you enjoy racing, then a racing stable is a fascinating place to spend a morning.  The staff are very respectful of owners and very friendly and helpful and owners are welcome to walk around and see all the horses in their respective homes.

Horses are taken out for exercise (work) in groups (known as “lots”) and what they will do will depend on their training cycle.  Horses that are building fitness or ticking over between runs might only be cantering, but those who are close to full fitness or preparing for a race might be going faster work or in the case of national hunt horses, may be schooling over fences or hurdles. 

Owners can join the trainer on the gallops to watch the horses work and the trainer will usually have a little more time than they do at the races to be able to answer questions and discuss the horse.  A one to one with someone that you would only normally be able to watch on TV is a real treat and the knowledge picked up can be useful when evaluating racing from a betting perspective or analysing a race that you have seen at the racecourse or on TV.

It is hard to beat a fresh, bright morning on the gallops watching the horses work and I try to give my shareholders as many opportunities as I can to get to the stables and see their horse.  It is an experience that always seems to be enjoyed, even more so if it finishes with a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich!

Away from the stables, owners are kept informed of the progress of their horse.  It takes several weeks for a horse to be brought back to full fitness after a break and then they need to be kept ticking over between runs, with some horses recovering from races quicker than others.  Updates of progress from the trainer are eagerly anticipated and whilst there is sometimes bad news as well as good, a positive update just builds the anticipation and excitement ahead of the next visit to the racecourse.

I hope this gives an insight into how an owner can share in training and development of their horse.  Next week, I will explain the differences between sole ownership, syndicates and racing clubs and why I think that shared ownership options are so exciting and in due course I will also lift the lid on whether “inside information” is all it is perceived to be!

Look out for the next post and if you cannot wait, then why not download my free e-book which provides more information on all aspects of ownership.  It does require you to enter an email address (which I only used to send a monthly newsletter and which you are welcome to opt out of at any time) and can be downloaded here:

Phil Boyle

Phil Boyle has been a racing enthusiast since his teens and bought his first share of a racehorse in the early 2000s. For the last ten years, Phil has been running BG Racing Syndicates and aims to provide fun, friendly and affordable access to racehorse ownership. Phil is always happy to talk about ownership and can be contacted via his website, Phil enjoys a bet every day and uses Race Adviser’s Racing Dossier software to help him to identify his selections.
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