August 10

When Did Racehorse Syndication Become Popular?


When did racehorse syndication become popular? It has everything to do with the history of racehorse ownership originally known as the Sport of Kings.

Racehorse syndication has made horse ownership a cost-effective option for everyone. In particular, it has been fantastic for those interested in getting involved that might not otherwise have been able to afford it. While it is commonplace in the racing industry, in this day and age, this was not always the case.

Let’s have a quick look at the history of horse racing.

The History of Racehorse Syndication

Since the beginning of recorded history, horse racing was an organized sport for all major civilizations around the globe. But the home of horse racing as we know it today is most definitely England. And it was here, during the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714), that horse racing began to become a professional sport. 

Match racing evolved into multi-horse races on which the spectators wagered. Racecourses emerged all over England, offering increasingly large purses to attract the best horses. The purses made breeding and owning horses for racing more profitable. 

But it was most definitely an indulgent pastime for the aristocracy who could afford to racehorses in their own right.

Horse Racing: The Sport of Kings

From the times of Queen Anne, it was also a sport that was dominated by the large owner breeders, most often with their own private trainers. Leviathan owners over the years included Lord Derby; Duke of Westminster; Duke of Portland; Duke of Westminster; Lord George Bentinck; Earl of Roseberry; Earl of Lonsdale and of course various Kings, most notably King Edward VII. Hence the name “The Sport of Kings.”

It was easy to see why they were also referred to as the landed gentry. 

The Industrial Revolution

Up until the 1880s, the British domestic economy was dominated by agriculture. Agriculture at this time claimed the vast majority of all the arable and pastoral land in England. However, 1880 saw the dawning of the Industrial Revolution. This was the starting point of the slow, but inexorable decline of the British aristocracy. 

And as the 20th century unfolded this demise was accelerated by the emergence of a democracy. Despite retaining a small footprint, the egalitarian society of the 21st century is so entrenched that what remains of Britain’s aristocracy is increasingly being viewed as a quaint historical curiosity.

A Change in Racehorse Ownership

As egalitarianism overtook, and replaced, the class system so we saw a comparative change in the profile of racehorse ownership. No longer was it the sole domain of the dukes and their aristocratic counterparts. No longer could it be referred to as the sport of kings. 

But it was still an expensive pastime. So, the ownership ranks for so long dominated by those of inherited wealth were slowly replaced by those with acquired wealth; those who had descended from the middle to lower classes and developed their fortunes within their lifetime.

International Racehorse Ownership

Over the last 20 – 30 years racing has become far more international. This trend has seen the emergence of the 2 international racing (and breeding) giants Godolphin and Coolmore. 

Godolphin and Coolmore Racing Stables

Since its launch, in the early 1990’s, the Dubai-owned Godolphin horses have won over 6,000 races (including 350 plus Gp1 wins) internationally; their horses having won in 14 different countries. Their major rival, the Irish-based Coolmore, has been equally successful. Their 2 main bases of operation are in Ireland and Australia. 

Since his appointment as their principal trainer in 1996, Aidan O’Brien has trained a world record 365 Group 1 winners (including a record 8 Derby winners).

Yet while these two horseracing giants have dominated the sport for the last 25 years, the overall ownership profile in the UK is far more democratic than was the case 100 years previously.

Racehorse Syndication

Australia and particularly, New Zealand have always been a far more egalitarian society than their “mother country.” But, despite their love of the punt, it wasn’t until the latter part of the 20th century that horse ownership started being taken up by the masses. The single biggest influence in this change was the emergence of racehorse syndication. 

Both countries have led the way in this revolution. 

So successful has syndication proven in Australia that almost 100,000 individuals (that’s nearly 1 in every 250 Australians) own a share in a racehorse, and they race for approximately $750 million in annual prize money. At the latest count, there are over 6,000 registered syndicates in Australia.

Racehorse Ownership Syndication Successes

Success stories are now so numerous that racehorse ownership is to be treated as commonplace. Just a few of them are:


Sebring was purchased for $130,000 and went on to race 6 times for 5 wins and a second. All five wins were in Group races and included the $3.5m Golden Slipper. He retired early due to injury with earnings of $2,5 million. He was sold for a reported $30million to stand at stud, where he was a great success siring many Group winners for a service fee of $66,000.

 She Will Reign

 She Will Reign was purchased for $20,000. She raced 12 times for 6 wins and a second. 

Included in those wins were the Golden Slipper and the Group One Moir Stakes. She retired to the broodmare paddock with earnings of $3.2 million. She was sold as a broodmare, to a Japanese stud, for an undisclosed multimillion-dollar sum where her first foal sold as a yearling for $2 million.


Redzel was purchased for $120,000. He was gelded before racing and went on to be a champion sprinter in Australia winner numerous Group 1 races. He also won the $15 million race The Everest twice in a row. Redzel was retired recently with earnings in excess of $16.5 million having raced 39 times for a 15-10-3 record.

Brazen Beau 

Brazen Beau was purchased for $70,000 as a yearling. He went on to be a multiple Group 1 winner on the racetrack with earnings of $1.6 million. He was subsequently sold to Godolphin for, a reported $20 million, to stand at stud as a (reverse) shuttle stallion. 

Standing for a fee of $50,000 he has sired numerous Group winning horses including the multiple Group winning 2YO here in New Zealand last season – On the Bubbles.

Racehorse Syndication in New Zealand

New Zealand has had more than its fair share of similar success stories – ranging from horses purchased for less than $100,000, who went on to win over $1m (Tell a Tale; Ruud Awakening; Melody Belle; On the Bubbles). 

These are just a small sample of the significant success stories of racehorse syndication. 

As you can see, owning a racehorse outright is probative for the average person. This is why buying shares in a racehorse syndicate gives you all the privileges, thrills, and excitement of racehorse ownership without the significant upfront costs and ongoing expenses. The structure of a racehorse syndicate means you don’t need to worry about the daily administration of looking after your interests. A little like hiring a property manager to look after your rental.

To find out more about how you can buy shares in a racehorse syndicate that’s affordable, check out these shares on offer. ARO is the home of Affordable Racehorse Ownership.


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