Royal Ascot proves a happy hunting ground for syndicates again

Adam Kirby and Heartache return in triumph at Royal Ascot
Adam Kirby and Heartache return in triumph at Royal Ascot

The major bloodstock empires both enjoyed notable successes at Royal Ascot last week, but for the second year running the smaller-scale owner also enjoyed an unforgettable experience when horses owned by syndicates claimed two of the meeting's biggest prizes.


The Godolphin and Coolmore powerhouses both claimed significant successes over the course of the five days, while both of the major Qatari operations also found the winner's enclosure.

However, the likes of Hamdan Al Maktoum, Khalid Abdullah and even The Queen herself failed to get on the scoresheet, illustrating how competitive the big meetings can be.

Yet 12 months on from the celebrations of the Ontoawinner team, this year it became the turn of the Hot To Trot Racing and Fred Archer Racing syndicates to be represented en masse after the respective successes of Heartache and The Tin Man.

The Tin Man has 10 owners, who each paid the same for equal shares at the start of the partnership, and £360 a month for training costs. 

The Fred Archer syndicates commemorate the racing legend who made (in all senses of the the word) the Pegasus stables from which James Fanshawe trains in Newmarket - many of those involved have had other interests with Fanshawe. Success hasn't come easy, making The Tin Man's emergence as one of the very best sprinters in Europe all the more enjoyable.

"I’ve been through the lot – horses that never ran, horses that didn’t follow up on their promise, and worst of all losing horses, so to have a horse capable of running in Group Ones, let alone winning them, is just incredible," said semi-retired accountant Isidore Caravalis.

"I try to watch all my horses run around the country, and people ask why I would travel for hours just for a minute or two’s action. I tell them that when you see them win, you cannot explain the thrill of it."

With around 75 members, the Hot To Trot outfit is run along different lines. Each syndicate member pays £1995 for an annual share and the money used to lease a number of horses that run in the group's colours for 12 months. At the end of the 12-month period, any proceeds are divided, and they start again for another year - or at least that's the idea.

"To be honest, we had a bit of a tough time last year with only one winner, but we have a brilliant group of people involved and it says a lot about them and how much fun we have as a group that they wanted to remain loyal," says syndicate manager Sam Hoskins.

"Like six of the seven horses that we have in the syndicate this year, Heartache is leased to us, which offers a much more affordable way to enjoy ownership, so while we were able to celebrate her victory in the Queen Mary, her breeders Whitsbury Manor Stud were also delighted.

"The majority of our members are already big racing enthusiasts, but might not want to make the big commitment that is required to enter into outright ownership.  I hope that we are offering an option that is both affordable and fun - we offer our members social events that they can involved with, and we'll try and get as many people into the races when we have runners as we can.

"Racecourses are getting more and more switched on about looking after syndicates and ownership groups. Some could do more, but most understand the need to look after all owners, no matter how big or small your share of the horse.

"It has been brilliant to see the popularity of racing syndicates grow in the last few years. People think there must be rivalry between us, but that's not the case at all - a number of our members have been or are owners with other racing syndicates. Some go where their friends go, some like to widen their options, and I think some just enjoy the whole experience so much they can't get enough of it!"

Find out more about becoming involved in racing as an owner, whether by yourself or as part of a racing syndicate or group by heading to Inthepaddock.co.uk


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