Now that you have explored the costs involved and found your trainer it is time to go and buy your potential star of the track.
There is no one hard and fast rule when it comes to buying a standardbred but generally you are looking for a strong pedigree, (a history of success from the bloodlines of the mother and father) and good conformation (sound appearance, trouble free bones and joints, upright stance etc.). By purchasing WA bred horses in the local sales you also increase your earning potential with the opportunity to race in locally bred events, and for Westbred Scheme bonuses.
The age of the horse is also an important decision to make with some people opting to buy at a very young age while other people are happy to wait until later and buy a proven, more seasoned performer.
Each year Australia wide there are a number of horse sales with the major sale locally in WA taking place in February and conducted by Gloucester Standardbreds.
By purchasing a horse in the local Gloucester Standardbred Sale, your horse may become eligible for a number of rich race series where only horses purchased at the sale are eligible to compete.
The horse sale is a public auction, and you are welcome to bid on any horse in the sale, providing you have the fi nance available. Most sales companies will have an area where you can register to bid, where they will ensure you have adequate funds available to bid in the auction. It is important to remember to register to bid if you intend to get involved in the sale. As a general rule if you are interested in playing a part in the sale phone the Sales Company prior to it taking place and have a general discussion.
Your trainer will no doubt have been to their share of sales in their lifetime and will be a valuable source of information when looking to buy your horse at a sale. Their input on breeding, confi rmation, value for money etc. could be the difference between getting a star or a pretender.
Finally if you are a successful bidder you will be required to make full payment before the horse will be transferred into your ownership and into the care of your designated trainer.
Another opportunity exists in the harness racing world to purchase a pacer via the Claiming races.
Claiming races are held on a regular basis for horse's that have nearly reached their mark (have won their way through to top grade and then found it too hard at the higher grade) or may have some soundness issues. Trainers that nominate horses for these races are obliged to put a price on their horse. If you believe the price they have on the horse is realistic and would like to purchase the horse you can lodge a claim and buy the horse.
The Rules of Claiming Races can be accessed via the RWWA Harness Rules of Racing.
The current owners are obliged to sell you the horse once the claim is lodged and after the event the money is transferred and the pacer transfers into your ownership.
Be aware that horses racing in these events have often reached their mark in the normal class racing however and be sure to confer with your trainer before staking a claim.
There are some great stories to come out of these races however including 2007 Bunbury Cup winner Lucky Punch who was claimed for $27,000 which has proven to be a bargain pricetag.
Being a registered owner of a horse has its benefi ts with WA owners receiving a VIP Owner Season Pass which allows free entry for two people to any harness racecourse.
Being an owner also 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 Driver/Trainer/ Horse and fellow owners. The chance to meet up and celebrate with your driver, trainer, horse and other owners after a win is a magical feeling, unique to harness owners.
As an outright owner or even as a syndicate you have the opportunity to register your own personalised set of race colours.
Many horses race in the colours registered by the trainer, however some owners decide to create their own unique set of colours. For more information on how to register your set of colours contact the RWWA Licensing and Registrations Department on 9277 0787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org As an owner you may also get a say in deciding who will drive your horse but generally your trainer will be the best judge in relation to fi nding a reinsman/ woman that will suit your horse. There are a lot of drivers that only drive at certain tracks for speci stables so it is not always possible to have your choice behind your horse for race day.
Leasing is a practical way for some people to own a standardbred without the initial outlay.
A standardbred owner can lease a horse to a person, group of people or syndicate, and when this occursthe designated lessees take over the payment of all costs relating to the horse and control the racing career of the horse for the period of the lease.
Lease periods vary from contract to contract but as a rule they will generally last for two to three years.Once the term of the lease is up the horse is returned to the owner unless terms to renew or purchase have been included.
Breeders and trainers lease horses they wish to retain ownership of, often for breeding purposes while keeping a small interest in their racing careers. Racehorse leases are often of benefi t to both parties with one group receiving a horse to race without the initial setup costs and the initial owner(s) receiving a percentage of stakemoney (generally 1/3 of stakes) without the ongoing costs.
It pays to ask your trainer if you are looking to lease a horse as they will normally be aware of any potentially suitable horses that are available.