The first step to getting involved is fi nding a trainer who will look after you and assist you in making informed decisions on your entry into standardbred ownership.
A trainer will give your horse the work that is required to get it into prime condition and spends the week giving the horse guidance and expert attention. You can have the best standardbred in the state but without a quality trainer you will never see it reach its true potential.
Finding the trainer that is right for you will take a bit of working out. As a guide have a look at those towards the top of the and Trainers Premiership Tables& and also look for trainers with good strike rates. This information can be accessed by logging onto http://www.harness.org.au/ clicking onto the Western Australia section and then scroll across to the left hand side of the page where the WA premierships heading sits. Updated premiership tables for all categories will appear.
If you have been a keen punter prior to getting involved in ownership maybe there is a stable that you have had success following - perhaps they will be the fi rst stable you make contact with when looking to enquire about purchasing your horse. There is a list of public trainers available to prospective owners to contact.
When you contact the prospective trainers it is important that you are comfortable with them and address a number of points. After all now that you are paying the bills for the horse it is important that you are kept informed of their progress.
When approaching the trainer introduce yourself and remember to leave them with contact details so they can reply to your query if they cannot answer right away. Trainers often have early starts and late fi nishes so be patient when trying to contact them - their standard workday is generally a lot different to 9.00am - 5.00pm.
Some of the issues you might like to address with potential trainers are :
If this all sounds a bit hard for you and you would like to play a more minor role perhaps syndication or group membership is the answer for you.
RWWA offers Group membership for people to register standardbreds cost free for up to 10 people in the group. The horse can then race under a registered group name without all the legalities involved in forming a Syndicate that needs to be registered with ASIC.
Syndication will give you a lesser percentage share in a standardbred, (or standardbreds) and the selection of the horse, trainer, driver etc. can be left up to the professionals (either the Syndicator or the manager of the syndicate). There is however a cost and paperwork which must be attended to in regards to forming a syndicate. If taking this option it is wise to contact the licensing and registrations offi ce on Ph : 9277 0787 who will gladly assist you with your enquiries.
Being involved with a harness racing syndicate/group can be a nice way to get a feel for the racing industry giving you a share in a standardbred without having to bear the full cost of all of the bills.
Syndication/Group Ownership also presents the opportunity to make some great new friends while following your horse. 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 night. A lot of syndicates/group ownerships 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 standardbred is sent to the syndicate manager to be distributed to the syndicate members.
Nowadays, a lot of 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 or distributing a newsletter regularly, everyone is aware of where the horse is at in its preparation.
Another alternative some use is to post out a newsletter while other syndicates simply get the syndicate manager to disseminate any relevant news.
There are many syndicators Australia wide who offer percentage shares in standardbreds or groups of standardbreds and it is simply a matter of fi nding a syndicate that suits your personal needs.
There is no one guaranteed formula in relation to becoming involved in a successful syndicate, however as a rule your chances of success are generally better if the syndicate or syndication group has a winning record and if they are buying foals out of proven producers or proven race track performers.
Training fees will differ greatly from stable to stable and state to state depending upon the success of the trainer, the quality of the training facilities and the stakemoney percentage retained by the trainer.
Currently the going rate for the professional stables in WA is between $1,200 and $1,500 per month with additional costs for things such as vet bills and the like.
There are other trainers that are prepared to negotiate deals such as minimal training fees and a 50/50 split on all stakemoney earned by the horse. A deal such as this generally takes place when a substantial amount of money has been spent on purchasing a horse and both parties are confi dent of the pacer earning regularly.
When speaking to your potential trainer get them to outline what they expect the average monthly bill to be (and any additional expenses) so that you can assess the long term fi nancial commitment required.
Horses are much like our elite sports people and require rest periods in between busy seasons. Because of this there are generally separate fees for when they are in work (full training) and when they are spelling (having a rest).
When a horse goes to the paddock for a spell they are given time to relax both mentally and physically. They get to have some time out and recover from any injuries and in general it is time to have a little holiday before they return to their busy training regime.
A lot of horses are sent to a separate facility for their spell and the cost to keep them during this period is less than when they are in full training as they do not need intense attention.
Once the horse returns to work with their trainer and stable staff, the time put into them increases greatly resulting in the fees rising.