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Horse on the gallops

Buying Into a Flat Horse with Karl Burke

Buying into a Flat Partnership with Karl Burke: a Gorgeous, Well-Bred Yearling Filly for a 2yo Flat Campaign

In no other industry, apart from racing, have commodity prices doubled in the last five years.  There has been a phenomenal growth in bloodstock prices, with records being broken at all the sales.  And yet Karl Burke has demonstrated time and time again that there are always good horses in every sale and you don’t necessarily have to go to the premium sales and spend prodigious amounts of money to obtain them.  He bought Libertarian, winner of the Dante and 2nd in the Derby, for 40,000 gns.;  Odeliz, dual Gr.1-winning filly, for €22,000;  and then, for £44,000, the superb filly Quiet Reflection, who has now won seven times including two Gr.1s, notably the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.  When we were planning to purchase another yearling this Autumn, all our owners said, “Please buy another Quiet Reflection”!  Well, we may have done the next best thing by teaming up her original buyer as a foal, bloodstock agent Matthew Houldsworth, with Karl Burke at the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale.  They worked extremely closely and have acquired a gorgeous, classy filly for us at a very reasonable price.  She definitely looks well-bought at a hammer price of €30,000.

If you would like to be involved in this new six-owner partnership, please contact Jon Hughes by phone on 01451 850780 or 07958 763159, or email  Purchase price of the horse, for a one-sixth share, is £5,525 + VAT (which will be reclaimed) and the annual cost per partner will be £3,940 in advance, or £990 quarterly, or £330 per month, from the date of the horse’s purchase.

Buying a sixth share in the Holy Roman Emperor Bay Yearling Filly

  • Total price of the horse, including Tattersalls’ and agent’s commissions, vetting, transport, initial insurance, keep and breaking fees to the end of October:  £33,150.
  • Purchase price per sixth share:  £5,525 + VAT (reclaimed for each owner), paid as a lump sum on joining the partnership.
  • Annual estimated training fees and associated costs per partner:  £3,940 in advance, £990 quarterly or £330 per month.  All prize-money and VAT to be returned directly to the partnership.
  • Shares sold on a first come, first served basis.  The horse will race in the colours of one of the partners each year, by rotation.
HRE Filly

Our Holy Roman Emperor filly comes from a high-quality family, with both sire and dam classic Coolmore bloodlines.  At the Tattersalls sale with Karl Burke and Matthew Houldsworth we had already decided that we were going to buy a filly this year, and after close scrutiny of the catalogue and examining over 50 horses we narrowed it down to six targets and a maximum budget of €60k.  On Day 1, two went over budget at €70k and €150k.  On Day 2, the horse we bought was the first to go through the ring and we were thrilled to acquire her for only €30k, a reaction that only increased when the other three targets went for €60k, €67k and €72k.

Holy Roman Emperor, trained by Aidan O’Brien, only ran as a 2yo over 6-7f, but got better with every race.  He was a real tank of a horse, fast, tough, hardy and with a great turn of foot.  He landed two Gr.1s in the Phoenix Stakes and the Grand Criterium.  However, when his sire Danehill died tragically young, he went straight to stud and has been a tremendous sire of 2yos, particularly fillies.  He has already been European Champion 2yo Sire twice, with a current stud fee of €17,500.  It is not only his youngsters who have done well, and the current star of Hong Kong, Designs On Rome, has already won over £4.8m over distances between 8f and 10f.

HRE Filly Breeding chart


Woodland Chant is an unraced half-sister to Royal Ascot Coventry Stakes winner CD Europe and 1m winner Cedar Sea (dam of St. Leger 3rd Corsica).  She is out of a half-sister to Gr.3 winners D’Anjou (1m) and Truth Or Dare (1m 2f).  It is a strong dam line with eleven horses having won Listed or Group races.  She has already produced a Gr.3-winning 2yo filly over 7f in Iveagh Gardens and there are two other well-bred fillies by Mastercraftsman and Pour Moi.

Her sire is War Chant (by Danzig) who won the Breeder’s Cup Mile and has sired many smart 2yos on the turf in the US.  Many of them have been fast, including the Breeder’s Cup Turf Sprint champion, Chamberlain Bridge.  Finally her dam, Woodland Orchid, is by Woodman who has also been a prolific sire of high-class 2yos who mature extremely well.  Notable examples are the Aidan O’Brien-trained Hawkwing who won the Lockinge and the Eclipse, and Henry Cecil’s filly Bosra Sham who won the Champion Stakes over 1m 2f.

It is going to be very interesting to see whether our filly follows the precocious trend in the family, and whether speed or stamina eventually predominates.  She has already been broken and ridden away at Karl Burke’s yard in Middleham and the early reports are most favourable.  She seems to be a strong, classy young horse, of decent size with a lovely, floating action – very exciting for next year’s Flat season.


Number of Partners

  • Six equal partners.
  • All partners to be, or become, Registered Owners.
  • Flat enthusiasts, combining optimism with realism.
  • Each partner has an identical shareholding of 16.67%.
  • Full involvement for all partners in key decisions.
  • Horse to run in the partners’ colours (by annual rotation)

Cost Management

  • Owners for Owners monitor all costs carefully every month and do everything possible to keep costs to the necessary minimum. 
  • Budget for annual training fees and associated costs are estimates, based on previous horses with Karl Burke.  Precise amounts will vary, depending on time spent in full training, number of runs, veterinary requirements, transport costs etc.
  • Precise annual accounts are produced, with any surplus distributed to the partners.
  • All our costs are completely transparent and available to all partners.  There are no mark-ups or hidden margins.

Regular Communication to all the Partners

  • Owners for Owners is committed to ensuring that every owner is actively involved with the horse, the yard and the partnership.  There is complete openness on everything to do with the horse and its training.
  • The web site is updated regularly, with a monthly Latest News section and privileged access to the Owners’ Area for the partnership’s horse.
  • On the 1st and 15th of the month an email update is sent to all the owners highlighting the progress of all the horses and their likely race targets.  This is accompanied by a fortnightly blog, The Owner’s Opinion, looking at topical owning and racing issues.
  • Every Sunday there is an update email to each owner with the latest news about their horse.
  • Every owner is encouraged to circulate photos or smartphone videos when they have visited the horse.  As we go through the season we build up a video gallery in the Owners’ Area for each of our horses.

Partnership Principles

  • Legally, all partners are equal co-owners of the horse and will have all the advantages of that, e.g. full access to the horse, a badge on every race day, equal share of prize-money, etc.
  • Commitment by the partners to retain the horse for a minimum of two years, when there will be a detailed review to assess performance and potential.  That also provides a clear exit route for owners if required.
  • At the end of the first year there is also a review when we take into account the recommendations of the trainer as to the horse’s future.  This review will be done before the autumn horses-in-training sales, thereby keeping this option open if the trainer so recommends.
  • All decisions on continuity to be made by the partners, taking on board the recommendations of the trainer.
  • All prize-money, and any budget surplus through VAT reclaims etc., to be returned to each partner as an annual dividend.
  • Horse will be sponsored, enabling VAT to be reclaimed and credited to the partnership.
  • All the administration is done by Owners for Owners on behalf of the partnership.
  • Very low administration cost of £150 per year, per partner, to cover VAT reclaims, book-keeping, preparation of annual accounts, administration of registrations etc., and web site updates.

Tremendous Value for Money

How does this compare with some of the larger commercial syndicates?  Many double the purchase price of the horse and charge £300 or more per month for a twelfth share, or at least £600 per month for a sixth share rather than the £330 that Owners for Owners charges.  Buying into a horse with Owners for Owners reduces the costs per partner by around 50%, with huge savings merely by cutting out expensive racing managers with high administration costs, and not charging indefensible mark-ups on the initial purchase price of the horse.

And of course another difference is the level of involvement – open access to Karl Burke’s yard in Middleham and close participation with fellow partners in all the key decisions relating to the horse.  This is guaranteed to maximise the enjoyment in owning (hopefully) an exciting Flat prospect. 

Spigot Lodge, Middleham