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Horse on the gallops

Buying into NH Store Horse Partnerships with Horses for Philip Hobbs, Anthony Honeyball & Martin Keighley

We are delighted to  have launched a new venture for Owners for Owners where rather than only buying “ready to race” NH horses at 3 or 4 years or older, we  have invested in three young horses, full details below.  During  2014 we discussed buying foals and yearlings with our trainers and agents, and came to the conclusion that a considerable quantity of the top-quality bloodstock is bought at this stage by astute purchasers, particularly from the bigger yards and by the bigger owners with the patience to wait while the horses mature.  Our plan is in time to race these horses in the normal way with our trainers, although importantly we do intend to adopt a commercial approach, as described below.  Because of the timescale involved, we have increased the number of owners per horse to 10 from our normal partnerships of 6, to reduce the cost per partner while also encouraging them to take a share in more than one youngster in order to spread their own risk.

If you would like to be involved in one or more of these NH  store horse partnerships, please contact Jon Hughes by phone on 01451 850780 or 07958 763159, or email There is an incentive to buy into these horses  as early as possible.  Purchase price to buy a share will increase in 2017 and 2018.  Full pricing details are shown below for each horse.  Please note that it is perfectly OK to buy into just one of the youngsters  but equally feel free to buy into the others.  We are looking forward to welcoming you as an owner and participant in the pleasure of following young horses as they develop through to the start of their racing career.

Buying a tenth share in the Milan Bay Yearling Gelding, to be trained by Anthony Honeyball

  • Purchase price per tenth share in 2016:  £ 3,500 + £700 VAT (reclaimed for each owner), paid as a lump sum on joining the partnership.
  • Total annual keep and associated costs such as routine vetting etc. per partner: £590 (2016) and £480 (for 9 months in 2017, as the partnership year starts in February and will run until November that year).
  • Therefore the total cost of buying into the horse from December 2015 plus keep until  November 2017 is £5,435 inclusive of VAT, and from December 2016 it is £5,963.
  • The intention is for Anthony Honeyball to train this horse from 2017/18 onwards.  Estimated monthly fee per tenth shareholder c. £220 (at today’s prices).
Oscar Bay Yearling Oscar Bay Yearling breeding chart

Throughout the autumn / early winter 2014, we were looking to buy a foal or yearling for Anthony Honeyball.  We visited a number of the main sales but found ourselves under-bidders, on horses that were beyond our price range and went to top Irish trainers.  Bryan Murphy, owner of the legendary Dunraven Arms Hotel, invited Anthony, Rachael Green and Owners for Owners to visit his Clonshire Stud Farm near Adare in Limerick with a view to buying a yearling directly from him.

Bryan has close links with a number of leading UK trainers such as Philip Hobbs, but was keen to support Anthony and Rachael as up-and-coming trainers. He is very well connected in Ireland and a close friend of J.P. McManus. He has produced high-quality young NH horses for the past two decades, with numerous successes on Grade 1 tracks including, for Philip, One Knight, What’s Up Boys, Supreme Prince and Dunraven Storm.

Having looked at his young stock on 10th February 2015, we were most impressed by a beautifully correct gelding by Milan (currently 3rd by earnings in the NH Sires’ Table) out of a Strong Gale mare, Strong Wishes. One of her progeny, William’s Wishes, was notably game and hardy, winning 8 times, but several others had really impressed Bryan and he followed them closely, including the P2P winner The Adare Man. Going back in the dam line there are excellent NH winners in Dagwood, Buck House (winner of the Supreme Novices’ and Champion Chase), Dare To Doubt, Jessies Dream and Gus Macrae.


Buying a tenth share in the Oscar Bay Yearling Gelding, to be trained by Martin Keighley

  • Purchase price per tenth share in 2016 :  £3,000 + £600 VAT (reclaimed for each owner), paid as a lump sum on joining the partnership.
  • Total annual keep and associated costs such as routine vetting etc. per partner:  £400 (2016) and £500 (2017).  The increase covers one-offs such as unexpected veterinary expenses.
  • Therefore the total cost of buying into thehorsefrom December 2015 and keep until November 2017 is £4,626 and from December 2016 it is £5,363.
  • The intention is for Martin Keighley to train this horse from 2017/18 onwards.  Estimated monthly fee per tenth shareholder c. £220 (at today’s prices).
Oscar Bay Yearling Oscar Bay Yearling breeding chart

Gerry Hogan, the Owners for Owners specialist bloodstock agent in Ireland who has bought all of Martin Keighley’s 11 Cheltenham winners to date, purchased this beautifully conformed Oscar colt at the Tattersalls foal sale in Ireland on 13th November 2014.  He is being brought up by Denis Bergin and his family just over the fields from Ballydoyle in Tipperary, and will be staying there until ready to come into training.  So lots of excuses for enjoyable trips to Ireland!

The sire, Oscar, was runner-up in the French Derby before becoming a high-class jumps stallion with multiple Grade 1-winning offspring such as Lord Windermere (Cheltenham Gold Cup),  Big Zeb (Champion Chase), Jetson (Punchestown World Hurdle), Rock On Ruby (Champion Hurdle), At Fisher’s Cross (Albert Bartlett) and Black Jack Ketchum (Sefton Hurdle at Aintree).  He is from the great Northern Dancer line, with Sadler’s Wells his sire, and is consistently in the top three of NH sires with an incredibly consistent track record and an almost 40% winning strike rate with his progeny across all goings from heavy to good.

The dam, Babygotback, was unraced but her sire Amilynx, by Linamix, was a top-class stayer on the Flat, winning two heavy-ground Prix Royal Oaks.  Her dam, Lilly Bolero, was also unraced but is from the staying Mr. Prospector / Roberto line.  Her best son was six-time winner Ballyholland, who had notable victories at Galway in the 2m 6f BMW Chase and the Galway Plate over a similar distance.  Going back in the pedigree, Charlie’s Cottage was a smart hurdler, while Copsale Lad was a really decent 2m 4f chaser / 3m hurdler.


Buying a tenth share in the Sholokhov Bay Yearling Gelding, to be trained by Philip Hobbs

  • Purchase price per tenth share in 2016  £3,500 + £700 VAT (reclaimed for each owner), paid as a lump sum on joining the partnership.
  • Total annual keep and associated costs such as routine vetting etc. per partner:  £700 (2016) and £750 (2017).  The increase covers one-offs such as  unexpected veterinary expenses. 
  • Therefore the total cost of buying into the horse from December 2015 and keep until  November 2017 is  £5,798 and from December 2016 it is £6,224.
  • The intention is for Philip Hobbs to train this horse from 2017/18 onwards.  Estimated monthly fee per tenth shareholder c. £220 (at today’s prices).
Sholokhov Bay Yearling Sholokhov Bay Yearling breeding chart

Philip Hobbs has achieved notable success over two decades, having won virtually all the top NH races and even a few on the Flat such as the Cesarewitch.  Clearly this cannot be done without a supply line of high-quality bloodstock coming into the yard, and his close relationship with top agent Aiden Murphy over many years goes right to the heart of this success.  Just consider the performance of Balthazar King, Captain Chris, Menorah and Wishfull Thinking, all of whom were bought by Aiden.  He increasingly specialises in buying foals and yearlings, who are then raised by him and his wife Anabel at their stud near Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Aiden was at the same sale as Gerry Hogan, and bought this striking Sholokhov colt as well as a number of others, including the top lot who went for a bit more at €95,000.  Sholokhov won the Gran Criterium, and is a relatively new NH stallion but quickly achieving recognition through the high-class exploits of his son Don Cossack.  He is from the same Northern Dancer / Sadler’s Wells line as the Oscar yearling.  On the bottom half of the page, our colt’s dam, Yorkshire Girl, ran a few times over hurdles, but her sire Anshan’s progeny have been successful over jumps, particularly with the top-class staying hurdle winner Asian Maze.  You may remember her thrashing Hardy Eustace in the 2m 4f Aintree Hurdle.

The dam line of our colt is a classic French Aga Khan line, particularly through Behera, champion European 3yo filly in 1989, with notable relatives including Behkara, winner of the Grand Prix de Paris;  the Henry Daly trained Behrajan who won the Tolworth, came 3rd in the Stayers’ Hurdle and won six times over fences including the Pillar Property Chase at Cheltenham;  ten-times winning Barizan who came 2nd in the Triumph Hurdle and won the Gr.1 Champion 4yo Hurdle at Punchestown;  and Banasan who won the 3m Kerry National.  Interestingly Willie Mullins has also been a follower of this line, with notable recent horses such as Ivan Grozny and Mozoltov.


Q&A Explaining the Background and Approach Adopted with these NH Yearling Partnerships

1. Why has Owners for Owners launched yearling partnerships?

Quite frankly because following discussions with our trainers and agents we are convinced that current bloodstock prices, particularly for ready-to-race ex-point-to-pointers, are becoming too high.  Many of the horses that we wanted to buy have been going for well over £100,000.  So we decided to create our own “supply pipeline” of young bloodstock, particularly those aimed at National Hunt.

2. How are these youngsters being bought?

This is a specialist area needing buyers with a really good eye for a young horse.  Owners for Owners does not select them.  All the key decisions are taken by our agents Gerry Hogan and Aiden Murphy, and also by Anthony Honeyball and Rachael Green who have done particularly well with these types of horse.  We set the budget but they buy them.  They know that we are looking for correct, athletic types with the scope to become chasers.

3. Is there greater risk in buying yearlings?

The straightforward answer is yes.  There is always the possibility that the horse will not develop physically as hoped, and of course there is the ever-present risk of injuries.  However, on the other side of the coin, there is a possibility of buying a horse for what it might eventually cost at 3, 4 or 5yo.

4. Is there an incentive (and reward) for taking that risk?

We are clearly hoping that the yearlings develop terrifically well over the next couple of years and become really high-value bloodstock.  If the partners decided to sell, then they would hopefully receive a return on their investment.  Equally, if the horse is going into training and other partners buy in much later, then those owners will purchase their shares at a higher price.  We have assumed that each of the yearlings will be worth at least £50,000 by the time they are ready to come into training.  The initial partners (those who buy in during 2015) will hopefully receive a dividend on their investment.  (Full details will be provided to each owner.)

5. Is this the reason you have increased the number of partners?

Normally in Owners for Owners we have six partners per horse and we try to buy horses at a total cost of less than £60,000.  With the yearling partnership, because there is a greater amount of potential risk (and possibility of greater return), we thought it appropriate to increase the number of partners to 10, with a corresponding reduction in the total costs per partner.  This way it is hopefully possible for people to buy into more than one horse if they so wish, thereby spreading the risk.

6. So is this a pinhooking syndicate (buying to sell)?

Primarily, no.  The whole motivation for buying the yearlings is for them to come into training with their designated trainers, and race for us.  However, we do intend the partnership to operate on commercial lines.  There is a possibility over the next few years that the horse may not develop in the expected way, and the partners decide to sell him.  Equally some of the horse’s relatives may do well on the track or at the sales, and in turn boost the potential sales value considerably.  Under these situations it could make strong sense to sell the horse.  But this would be a partner decision, drawing on the advice of agents and trainers.

7. Will the annual costs go up over the next few years?

While the horses are enjoying their early years out in the paddocks, the costs won’t increase by very much.  The two main additional costs are to do with gelding (which will happen during 2015) and then, as and when the horse is ready to come into training, the breaking and pre-training.  Once the horse is in full training, then it will be at the daily rates indicated for Messrs. Hobbs, Keighley and Honeyball.

8. Will I be able to visit the horse(s) and follow their development?

Absolutely.  One of the real pleasures of the next couple of years will be watching these yearlings grow and strengthen.  There will be organised visits to see them (hopefully tied in with race meetings, especially in Ireland) and every partner will be able to go along and see the horses on their own at any time (by arrangement with the keeper).  Indeed, that is actively encouraged.


Number of Partners

  • Ten equal partners per horse.
  • NH enthusiasts, combining optimism with realism.
  • Each partner in each horse has an identical shareholding of 10%.
  • Full involvement for all partners in key decisions.
  • When the horse comes into full training, all partners to be, or become, registered owners.

Estimated Costs and Budget

  • The purchase price of the bloodstock in year one  reflected actual costs incurred, i.e. auction hammer price, sales house premium / commission, bloodstock agent’s fees, transport and vetting.  The prices increased for new partners joining from December 2015, and go up again in December2016 and December 2016.  This is being done to reflect the increasing value of the horse and therefore the founder partners’ investment.
  • Each horse is expected to come into full training towards the end of his three-year-old or early four-year-old days.  The costs covering the initial period at grass are primarily keep, insurance and necessary veterinary treatments.  They are substantially lower than the eventual charges for pre-training and full training.
  • As and when the horse comes into full training, the normal costs of that apply. 
  • Precise annual accounts are produced, with any surplus distributed to the partners.
  • All attempts are made to keep costs to the necessary minimum.

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 each 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 our horses.  This is accompanied by a fortnightly blog, The Owner’s Opinion, looking at topical ownership and racing issues.
  • For horses at grass, there is clearly not a lot to report, but there will be an update at the beginning of every month.  Whenever owners visit them, they are also encouraged to circulate photos and reports.

Partnership Principles

  • Legally, all partners are equal co-owners of the horse and have equal input to all the key decisions.  Initially the commitment is to retain the horse through to the first key decision point which would be whether to sell, or retain the horse for training.  If the horse comes into training then it is assumed that each partner will fully support him throughout his training career.
  • Every year there will be a review when we take into account the recommendations of our bloodstock agents, pre-trainers and trainers as to the horse’s future.  All decisions on continuity to be made by the partners, taking on board these recommendations.
  • When the horse is in training, all prize-money, and any budget surplus through VAT reclaims etc., to be returned to each partner as an annual dividend.
  • Each horse will race in the individual colours of partners, by rotation, not those of Owners for Owners.
  • All costs completely transparent and available to all partners.  No mark-ups or hidden margins.
  • When in training the 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 £100 per year, per tenth share partner, to cover VAT reclaims, book-keeping, administration of registrations etc., and web site updates.

Tremendous Value for Money

There are not many yearling partnerships around, although a number of top owners are very active in buying these younger horses, often in conjunction with their trainers, agents and friends.  However, we are pursuing exactly the same principles as with our “ready to race” horses, so when Owners for Owners buy young horses and then put them into full training, we do so in line with the principles above.  By dealing with costs in an open and transparent manner, we can reduce the cost per partner by at least 50% compared to commercial syndicates, with huge savings merely by cutting out expensive racing managers and high operating costs, and not charging indefensible mark-ups and margins.

And of course another difference is the level of involvement – open access to our trainers’ yards 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) exciting NH prospects.

Foal with its mother