Ever dreamed of owning a racehorse?

Have you ever watched the Melbourne Cup or Perth Cup, seen the winning connections celebrating after the race and thought I wish that was me?

Well we can’t guarantee that you will ever own a Cup winner but anyone that has ever owned a thoroughbred will tell you watching them race is one of the biggest thrills you will ever experience.

Being an active part of the thoroughbred racing scene is surprisingly easy to become involved with, and with different forms of ownership including joint ownership and syndication, it caters to nearly every budget.

Owning a thoroughbred can be done as an individual, in a partnership or with a group of people (friends/workmates/sporting team mates) in a syndicate, or you can lease a horse.

In all cases, owners will be required to be licensed with Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) where an application form needs to be completed and a small annual fee paid.

Making the right initial decisions and having a touch of good fortune are important so here is some helpful advice to get you started on the right path.

Types of Ownerships and their descriptions:

  • Sole Ownership: Being a sole owner means you reap all the rewards, but also carry all the costs. You have total control over the key decisions and will generally deal one on one with your trainer. As an outright owner you have the opportunity to register your own personalised set of race colours too.
  • Joint Ownership/Partnerships : Partnerships allow you to share in the excitement of horse ownership with work colleagues or friends and split the costs. Up to 20 people can jointly race a horse. Morton Racing will have availability in horses, especially after a yearling sale and they would welcome you to join in with many of their current or regular owners in ownership. This can prove to be a great way to meet some new people and share in the excitement of ownership with them.
  • Syndicates: If ownership sounds exciting but you’d rather reduce your cost outlay, then syndication may be the answer for you. Syndication will give you a lesser percentage share in a horse, (or horses) and the selection of the horse, trainer, jockey etc. can be left up to the professionals (either the Syndicator or the manger of the syndicate).

Being involved with a thoroughbred syndicate can be a nice way to get a feel for the racing industry giving you a share in a race horse without having to bear the full cost of all of the bills.

Syndication also presents the opportunity to make some great new friends while following your thoroughbred. Many syndication groups co-ordinate social events for their members and encourage the large groups of syndicate members to meet up and cheer on their representatives on race day. A lot of syndicates are enjoyed together by workmates, team mates, family members and friends. Syndicates normally have 10 –20 members and need to be registered with the principal body (Racing and Wagering Western Australia) in the state with a representative or Manager appointed.

The Syndicate Manager is responsible for overseeing the finances of the syndicate, and is expected to report to the fellow members on a regular basis. Any prize money earned by your racehorse is sent to the Syndicate manager to be distributed to the syndicate members.

Nowadays most syndicates have their own website which allows all members the opportunity to keep up to date with the horse’s progress via a news page. It would be impossible for the trainer to contact the entire syndicate by phone but by maintaining the website everyone is aware of where the horse is at in its preparation.

For further information regarding syndication, please visit the RWWA website: http://www.rwwa.com.au/home/thoroughbreds-public-syndication.html

Leasing: Leasing is effectively ‘renting’ a horse from an owner for a specified period of time and obviously does not involve an upfront purchase fee. The term of the lease will see you pay all costs associated with racing the horse along with an agreed ‘leasing’ fee which may include a percentage of prize money earned. Breeders and trainers lease horses they wish to retain ownership of, often for breeding purposes while keeping a small interest in their racing careers.


Being an owner in any form, earns you the right to appear in the winner’s circle after the horse’s wins so you can appear in any winning photos with the Jockey, Trainer and Horse. The chance to meet up and celebrate with your jockey, trainer and horse after a win is a magical feeling, as anyone that has experienced will vouch for.

The Western Australian Racehorse Owners Association (WAROA) is the official voice of racehorse owners in Western Australia. WAROA membership provides you with the many benefits and for more information, visit their website: www.waroa.com.au

Putting the odds in your favour

Finding the trainer that is right for you can often take some working out, but at Morton Racing we believe we can cater for all your needs, at whatever level you may want to be involved at. The trainer’s job we believe is twofold, firstly to give your horse the work that is required to get it into prime condition and give the horse guidance and expert attention and secondly, to make your whole ownership experience an enjoyable one. You can have the best horse in the state but without a quality trainer you will never see it reach its true potential.

Some of the questions you might want answered by the team at Morton Racing:

  • What is your proposed training fee structure?
  • Do you foresee any extra charges other than training fees?
  • What are the plans for communicating with the owners (phone calls, emails, website, faxes etc.) in relation to the horse?
  • When can I visit my horse?
  • What tracks do you prefer to race your horses at?
  • Where will my horse be based when it is in work and spelling?
  • How many horses are you currently training?
  • Can I buy into a horse that you have with some of your current owners?
  • What sort of horse would you suggest for me as a first timer? (proven race horse/yearling/2-year old etc.)

Off to the races

Western Australian thoroughbred racing maintains healthy returns to owners via stake payments and breeding bonus scheme offerings. In 2011/12, RWWA paid out a total of $49.5M in prize money and $3.5M in Westspeed bonus. RWWA also pays additional costs on behalf of owners including jockey riding fees, subsidised trial ride fees, insurance and Workers Compensation cover.

Beyond the Home Stretch

What happens if I want to sell my horse or they have finished racing?

If your horse has been recognised as a talented performer on the track it is possible that you could sell it for a pricely sum. If your horse is not so talented but you want to sell them, you will have the option of leasing them out, selling them in a tried racehorse sale, selling them privately or selling them to the equestrian industry for events. Sound pedigree and a successful racing history may mean your racehorse can become a top candidate for the breeding barn in their retirement.