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Fancy owning a racehorse?

It might be a bit tricky to wrap and put under the tree, but a racehorse may just be the perfect present to give this Christmas.

Who wouldn’t love the thrill of being the owner of a powerful and sleek beast of equine excellence and see it compete on the nation’s racecourses?

What’s more you don’t have to pay thousands under a scheme launched by Shipston-based company Old Gold Racing, you can part-own a race horse for just £60.

The business launched in December last year having raised £270,000 in a crowd-funding campaign and despite Covid-19, and racing only being able to carry on behind closed doors, it has thrived.

CEO of OGR Ed Seyfried explained how it works. “We deliver the experience of owning real racehorses for a fraction of the normal price by syndicating very small shares to a wide audience. Typically an OGR horse will have around 2,000 owners paying £60 a year but with each owner feeling involved in their horse.”

Owners are given a welcome pack, digital updates via an app and can watch their horse race or visit them at their stables. As an owner you also share in the profits, with once of OGR’s horses, Darling Maltaix, having already made £17,000 in wins.

Starting with just one horse in training at the beginning of lockdown there are now five horses being made race ready of which Braqueur d’Or (Braq for short) and Lady De Vega are trained by local trainer Paul Webber at Mollington on the Warwickshire border.

The Herald headed to the picturesque Webber training yard to watch two of OGR’s horses being put through their paces.

While we watched brand ambassador and ITV racing presenter Francesca Cumani jumping fences on Braq, Ed spoke about the inspiration behind the business.

Hoses are very much in Ed’s blood. His great-grandfather, Ronnie Holbech, owned horse Paladin which came third in in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1945. Ronnie was left ruing fate as the preceding two Gold Cups – when Paladin was in his prime – were called off because of war.

“Now,” joked Ed, “I want to make good a historical injustice and have dreams of winning the Gold Cup.”

He continued: “After a friend gave me a share in a horse I realised you don’t have to have much to call a horse ‘mine’; there’s a real visceral, guttural feeling in owning a horse rather than just having a punt on one, and if it’s yours you’re really behind it.

“And that’s what OGR is about – we show everything that is going on behind the scenes. You’re paying £60 a year rather than £60,000 but you’re probably better informed than more wealthy owners who might get a call from the stables once a fortnight to say how their horses are doing. Through your smartphone we can make the racing experience dynamic for a fraction of the price. We can build a community of people who become racing buddies.”

Film Dream Alliance, released in 2015, tells the true story of how a Welsh town formed a syndicate to buy a buy a racehorse which went on to win the Grand National.

Ed explained that the film captured the spirit he wants to create with OGR’s horses, he said: “We want to connect local people to a horse – and get people locally behind it – it would be lovely if people had that.”

Once dismounted Francesca looks radiant after her run out on Braq, and described jumping fences as “the best thing ever”. She continued: “I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie so it was great – he flies over the fences and it gets the pulse racing. He’s a horse that knows what he’s doing and is super professional so made it easy.”

She thinks share ownership is a great way of debunking the elitism of the sport. She said: “There’s a perception that horse racing and ownership is for the extremely wealthy whereas this gives you a very affordable slice of the action. You can get involved and see the horses running and, in a normal year, visit the stables and see them run.”

She continued: “For £60 a year it’s honestly a no brainer. What a great Christmas present – it literally keeps on giving.

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