The Big Question - Cost
Initial Cost - Purchasing a Horse
Horses sold each year at the annual yearling sales normally sell from anywhere between $4,000 for a cheaper lot all the way up to $100,000 for an outstanding yearling. The average sale price of a yearling at the 2008 APG Melbourne Yearling Sale was $14,459 although each year a number of lots will sell for around the $5,000 mark and will go on and be very successful racehorses on the track. Former champion pacer Shakamaker was purchased at the yearling sales for $3,500 and he went on to win $2.3 million including an Inter Dominion and a Victoria Cup!
Horses sold privately can range from a few hundred dollars for horses that are either unproven or have shown little promise to date all the way up to several hundred thousand dollars for very promising or elite level horses. It is simply a matter of negotiation between the buyer and seller and finding the right prospect within your budget.
Horses can be purchased out of claiming races in Victoria from anywhere between $1,000 for cheaper claiming lots all the way up to $50,000 for the most expensive claimers. The average price of a claiming horse, however, is normally around $8,000.
Share in a Public Syndicate
Shares in horses can be purchased from licensed syndicators. The cost of a 5% share will depend on the quality of the horse being syndicated. However as a general guide, a 5% share in a typical yearling can usually be purchased for somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 upfront with ongoing monthly costs of around $80 per month.
On Going Costs
Training fees will vary from trainer to trainer and will largely depend on the scale of the trainer’s operation, their level of expertise, their experience and their success rate.
As a general guide, most trainers will charge a fee of somewhere between $30 and $40 per day to train your horse. On most occasions, this fee includes training and feeding the horse, but does not include its shoeing, veterinary expenses and transport.
Although it varies from horse to horse, depending on their ability and racing schedule, most horses will be in full training for around nine months of the year.
Every four to six weeks, your horse will require a set of shoes that cost around $70. This would be added onto the monthly invoice from your trainer, rather than billed directly to you by the farrier.
From time to time, you will need to have a vet visit your horse. Costs will depend on what problems there are with your horse and the treatment required. Should it be something of a significant nature then your trainer should contact you first and discuss the fees involved. Once again, this fee will be added onto the monthly invoice from your trainer, rather than billed directly to you by the vet.
When a horse is at trialling and racing stage, it will need to be transported from its stable to the racetrack. How much this will cost will depend on how far your horse has to travel. The cost of transport, generally a fee per kilometre travelled, will be invoiced to you by the trainer so it is worth establishing what their rate is when selecting a trainer.
When your horse is not in training and is out in the paddock spelling, you will have to pay agistment costs. The cost of agistment will vary depending on the quality of the agistment property and the availability of feed in the region, but as a general guide costs will normally be somewhere between $5 and $15 per day. When your horse is spelling, this agistment fee will replace the daily training fee that you have been paying.
In order for your horse to be eligible for rich futurity race series, such as Vicbred, the Australasian Breeders Crown and Australian Pacing Gold (if purchased from that yearling sale), certain fees need to be paid.
In order to be eligible each season for the $5.6m Vicbred Series, an age acceptance fee of $198 needs to be paid at the start of the two, three and four-year-old seasons or a discounted series fee is available. The fees payable to be eligible for the Australasian Breeders Crown Series will depend on the age of the horse, but are not expensive.