Now that you have seen 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 horse 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 Westspeed Scheme bonuses.
The age at which you purchase your 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 racehorse.
Below are the different age groups you can purchase horses at:
A Weanling is a horse under the age of one who has been removed from the care of it's mother.
There are a number of high profi le thoroughbred sales throughout Australia annually where yearlings go under the hammer at auctions. By this stage of their life they are physically mature enough to be assessed but have not yet been tried on the track so there is still an 'x' factor in relation to their future.
Once a horse has its second birthday it is eligible to race in age restricted 2 year old events where it can race against horses of similar experience and age. Some horses are ready to race at this age while others are simply too immature.
Generally by this stage the horse has been tested on the track but will have a limited number of racetrack appearances in this year to ensure their long term health and to allow their bones, tendons and joints to continue to strengthen.
Barring bad luck and mishaps, most horses are strengthened up and ready to race as three year olds and can begin a series of racing campaigns.
A lot of race horses, while staying sound, can race up until they are eight or nine year olds with some going even longer than that.
When buying from this category you are generally looking at proven performers and as a rule you will get what you pay for in relation to their race track performance.
There are certain horses that can improve in a certain environment or if trained in a different manner but most times "a good horse is a good horse" and their career statistics are always a sound indication of their ability.
Before buying a horse it is strongly advised that you get it checked by a qualifi ed Vet who can identify any injuries or fl aws in your potential purchase. This process ensures you have piece of mind when acquiring your new runner and allows you to know what you are getting yourself in for if it does have any prior injuries or physical abnormalities.
Each year Australia wide there are a number of popular horse sales which take place including the Magic Millions Yearling Sales here in Perth.
Each of these horse sales have separate benefi ts and most times there will be some events made available to graduates from these sales exclusive to horses bought at these sales. For example Magic Millions run rich feature event races in Perth each year for 2 and 3 year olds that have been exclusively purchased from their sales.
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.
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.
Whether or not you decide to insure your horse is a personal decision and often is determined by the amount of money you spend to purchase your horse in the fi rst place. Much like a motor vehicle the more expensive the horse the more it costs to insure and the other determining factor is the potential earnings of the horse and it's breeding potential when it's race career is fi nished. There are a number of licensed insurance agents who specialize in bloodstock policies.
In addition to receiving the winner's cheques, owners have the exclusive right to appear in the winner's circle after your horse's wins to take part in the celebrations and be a part of the winning photo with the Jockey/ Trainer/Horse and fellow owners. The chance to meet up and celebrate with your fellow connections is a magical feeling as anyone who has experienced will vouch for.
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 many 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 0788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Leasing a race horse is a practical way for some people to own a race horse without the initial costs. A thoroughbred owner can lease a horse to a person, group of people or syndicate, and when this occurs the 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 potential horses that are available that look suitable.