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The Syndicate 07/09/02

Forming a syndicate to race a horse is easier said than done.

If you want to form a syndicate at work for a Tattslotto Super Draw then its easy and there are plenty of takers - $5 each and we could be millionaires by Saturday night.

But suggest to someone that you should invest 1000's of dollars to buy a horse which won't race for at least a year and may never make it to the track and people tend to be a bit more evasive. Funny about that.

We had been talking the talk for years about getting a racehorse - loudly boasting at every party, BBQ, 21st, 50th and anywhere else that a group of more than 12 people had congregated, but never taking any affirmative action. Finally it was time to take a stand - when you consider it probably takes 1-2 years from the time you purchase a horse to the time that it is racing - you need to get to work sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately, it's not like it’s a cooking show and you can't just whip out 'one we prepared earlier'.

There are two options for the prospective horse buyer - one is to try and form a syndicate between people you know, the other is to buy a part share in a horse that is being syndicated commercially. The third option is to buy one just by yourself with that lazy pile of cash you keep stacked in the back room.

Commercial syndications do have several advantages - you do not need to worry about where the money is coming from apart from your share (those who have ever lived in share accommodation know the joy of waiting for people to pay their share of the bills) , they are run by professionals who know the business and will take care of all the day to day matters, and they are carefully chosen bloodstock that are going to give you a run for your money. Of course, they make a profit out of it, but we all need to eat. Best of all, you do not need to try and sweet talk any passing acquaintance into joining the syndicate to try and get the necessary numbers. You can save that for dubious pyramid selling schemes.

Although race horses are always thought of in the realms of the rich and famous, once you start to split the costs between 5,10 or 20 in a syndication, the outlay becomes quite manageable - especially when you are heading towards the Bi Lo end of the market.

Like those Hollywood movies where the band of desperados are gathered together on a mission we formed our posse, each with their own area of expertise (safe cracking, explosives, get away driver and gourmet chef so that the gang has some nice nibbles that meet all dietary requirements). We managed to scrounge together 7 relations, friends and friends of friends who were keen to share the spoils of owning a champion racehorse and form our own syndicate. The decision was made to try and keep it to as few people as possible, just so we all get a say and get to join in the organising, naming, planning and feel like we are contributing (although just us watch like eager bridesmaids jostling for a hard fought bouquet should we ever win a trophy race). All are keen punters, all work mundane 9-5 office jobs, and all are going to get a huge thrill when our steed steps out on the track. Just don't ask us to muck out the stables, cause we have never done a hard days work in our life.

Of course, being novices we had absolutely no idea what so ever where to start or what to do, but Racing Victoria have an excellent horse ownership promotional pack with everything you want to know, even if you are just tossing up the concept and want some background information. From there, its just a few short steps and you could be holding aloft the Fruit'N' Veg Heathly Diet Try It - McMahons Liqour Barn trophy in victory when you win the Balnaring Cup.

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