The horse racing industry has always been big business in Britain, reportedly generating upwards of £4.1billion in total direct and indirect expenditure into the British economy. If you have ever had a flutter yourself, then you may well have enjoyed the adrenaline rush that comes with seeing your number cross the finish line first, but when it comes to making money from horse racing, there is a lot more up for grabs than just the winnings of a lucky bet.
If you are a fan of the sport, then perhaps you have dreamed before of owning a racehorse – but you might not have yet considered what a stellar investment it could be, making you a substantial return for the future whilst also granting you access to the forefront of the action at some of the most exciting racecourses in the world.
If you do not live in the Britain, then you might think that this rules you out from enjoying a slice of the pie – but the truth, in fact, is quite the opposite. Great British Racing International is the non‐profit organisation responsible for generating inward investment from overseas into British racing and breeding, predominantly through racehorse ownership. Providing a bespoke service for individuals from across the globe who are looking to become a part of this prestigious sport and in the very highest levels of thoroughbred racing in Britain, the opportunities to buy, own, race and breed are yours for the taking.
As well as offering you something positive and exciting to put your time into during the ongoing pandemic to make your days a great deal more fulfilling and fun, it might just be the savviest investment you will make this year.
This prime opportunity is not one to be sniffed at, either – as current and past investors will readily confirm. Canadian‐born John Gunther, who is now based in the US, invested in the highest ever rated racehorse-turned stallion, and produced, along with his daughter Tanya, a foal who he named Without Parole.
Bred at Newsells Park Stud in Hertfordshire, where some of their broodmares are also housed, Without Parole was offered to buyers at the historic bloodstock auction house Tattersalls (which was formerly based at Hyde Park Corner and then Knightsbridge Green before relocating to Newmarket in 1886) in 2016 but bought back by the Gunthers for a princely sum of 650,000 guineas (£682,500).
Their high hopes for Without Parole certainly were not misplaced, and the horse was crowned a winner on his very first race. He went on to take the title in one of the summer’s most valuable prizes the following year, the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, under Frankie Dettori.
That would be his final success in Britain before making the move stateside, and since then, he has been placed in three top‐level races in the US, before eventually retiring from his glittering racing career just last month.
Gunther said of the win: “Without Parole has given me the most memorable and exciting day of my life with his victory in the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. It was my biggest dream come true and I continue to be overwhelmed by the heart and perseverance he has shown with his racing pursuits in America.
“He has raced in 12 consecutive Grade 1s and faced myriad traffic obstructions, at times unsuitable turf conditions and he just never gives up, as demonstrated again by his third‐place finish in the prestigious Shadwell Turf Mile.”
Perhaps rather poignantly, it was decided by his owner‐breeders that he would return to the place of his birth to embark on his stallion career as one of the most exciting recruits of the year. His total earnings to date are just shy of £750,000 and his stud fee will begin at £10,000.
Julian Dollar, general manager of Newsells Park Stud, said: “We’re delighted to be standing Without Parole at Newsells Park. It is no secret that we, like virtually every other global stallion operation, chased this horse hard after his impressive win at Royal Ascot and it’s fitting he should now retire to the Stud where he was born and raised.”
There is no doubt that the Gunthers’ investment in Without Parole paid off, but they are not the only ones to be celebrating great returns from the industry.
Mohaather was bred in the rolling hills of Oxfordshire by Mrs Gaie Johnson Houghton before being purchased for 110,000 guineas (£115,500) by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the UAE, at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2017. He went on to reign victorious in five of his eight starts as a racehorse; his most notable performance of all was undoubtedly his win in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in July of this year.
Trained by the respected Marcus Tregoning in the small Hampshire village of Whitsbury, he has since become something of a legend to the locals, with his sire, Showcasing, also based there at Whitsbury Manor Stud. His wins over the summer were the British success story that lit up the racing calendar and gave great cause for celebration amongst fans, many of whom had been attentively following his meteoric rise to success.
Gaie Johnson Houghton, the horse’s breeder, said at the time: “Mohaather was a joy. The great excitement of my life has been watching him.” Like Without Parole, Mohaather has moved on to the next phase of his career and stands at the Sheikh’s Nunnery Stud in Norfolk, having amassed nearly three times his price tag in prize money. His stud fee is unconfirmed at time of writing.
Both international horse owners have a passion for the sport, the financial benefits simply coming as a bonus. But there is no denying that these were savvy investments that have significantly boosted their reserves – and that have kept on giving long after the horses have retired from the track.
“These are two fabulous examples of international racehorse owners who have contributed much to the British racing and breeding industry and who are deservedly reaping the rewards, both emotionally and financially,” says Minty Farquhar, acting general manager of GBRI.
“The stories of Mohaather and Without Parole epitomise everything that Great British Racing International (GBRI) strives for: we exist to encourage and assist overseas individuals to purchase the best thoroughbreds in the world at Britain’s bloodstock auction; to partake in and enjoy our world-famous race meetings; and to breed from the most successful of their racehorses to establish bloodlines that will shape the thoroughbred breed for generations to come.”
If you have never been able to get enough of the glamour that comes with a day at the races, or the adrenaline that comes with seeing your number cross the finish line first, then investing in British racing might just be for you. And, if you are lucky, you might just get to call the next champion your own.
The next bloodstock sale held at Tattersalls, Newmarket, will be the December Yearling Sale on 23rd November. If you would like to explore the opportunities to become involved in British horseracing further, please contact Minty Farquhar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image at the very top of the article: Without Parole and Tanya Gunther following his 2018 victory at Royal Ascot.