Referred to as the sport of kings, horse racing has beenpart of British society for more than 400 years. It’s a sport fueled by money where the margins forvictory are tiny but the stakes are always high. I’m on a journey to learn what it takes to be part ofa sport loved by both gamblers and royalty.
Given rare access to the peoplewho own, train and ride race horses as we attempt to shine a light on the inner workingsof a sport, that for many, is shrouded in mystery. But first, it’s important to understandthat there are two types of horse racing -.
Flat and jump racing, also known as National Hunt.
Traditionally flat racing was for the wealthy,while National Hunt was for farmers and country folk. Today, national hunt occurs only in a handfulof countries while flat racing is global, attracting fans from Kentucky to Abu Dhabi.
There’s also a lot more money in it.
Winning National Hunt’s biggest race, theGrand National, would earn you nearly $750,000. While in flat racing, you could take home$7 million by winning America’s Pegasus World Cup.
But the major money in flat horse racing isn’tmade out on the track, it’s made at discreet stud farms.
I’ve come to one called Newsells Park in Hertfordshire.
Here, stallions and mares are hand-pickedbased on their.
Own success on the track and their purebred pedigree of champion race horses. The mares are then covered by thestallions in a controlled environment, as they aim to breed the next generation of winners.
For the stallion’s owner, breeding is big business.
Take for instance Frankel, arguably thegreatest racehorse that ever lived.
Three year careermaking his owner the Saudi Prince Khalid Abdullah around $4 million in prize money. Before his retirement in 2012, four-year-old Frankel hadthe highest rating of any racehorse in history. If Frankel had kept racing, he would’ve likelycontinued to win and earn. But for his owner, Frankel’s success andsuper star status had sealed his fate. He would be a more lucrativeasset as a breeding stallion.
New role, Frankel mated with hundredsof horses every year earning a fee every time. In 2017, he mated with 195 mares. Each go cost $165,000, earning his ownermore than $30 million in just one year.
Success of some of his firstfoals such as Cracksman and Rostropovich, Frankel’s going rate has increased to $230,000. One man that paid for a Frankel foalis entrepreneur Graham Smith-Bernal. A decade ago, he sold his litigationsoftware business for over. With some of his hard earned fortune.
He boughta number of successful race horses. “And all of a sudden my phone is going,there’s text messages of ‘Congratulations,’ I say, ‘What is this?’ It cannot be thatGrey Britain has just won that race.” So what attracted him to becoming an owner? “You know, you win the race, you win somenice prize.
Money but mainly you’ve got the satisfaction and the thrill of havingyour horse winning a race. So he purchased a broodmare calledLa Mortola for more than $450,000. At the time, La Mortola was pregnantwith one of Frankel’s foals. This year she gave birth to that foal -a young colt called Fabrizio. A colt is an uncastrated malehorse less than four years old. His development over the next year will.
Beclosely monitored by Newsells Park and its general manager Julian Dollar. “Our job is not to mess things up really. They are highly strung and they’ll do lots of thingsto try to hurt themselves on an.” “Everything is designed to make themthe best athlete they could be. You could sort of imagine some parent doingit to some seven year old that they dreamt was going to be the nextVenus Williams.” “He’s all in proportion, he’s whatI call well balanced. What’s changed over him – he’s nowthree and half, nearly four months isn’t he?”.
“Just looking for the overall, when I saybalance of the.
Horse it’s just as I say it’s making sure that everything fits together. So we want him to have a little bit of roundnessover the top, a good bit of muscle across his back and then here a good bit of hind quarter which he has because.
That’s where the power comes from. He’s got a good proportion of forearm, he’s not too light,the muscle here that’s of course very important.
Chilled out in the sun today,he’s half asleep but that’s good, that’s good because it says he’s gota good relaxed temperament. If I was going to criticise the horse it would just be thathe’s a touch small but the most important thing is he’s.
All in proportion, everything flows together,he walks well, he looks quite athletic. It’s hard to breed horses,it’s bloody hard to breed horses. It’s much easier to go and buy a race horse,so.” But is Fabrizio’s owner happy with hisprogress and what does his future hold? “It’s a hobby and it’s fun and I’m not doing it becauseI think I’m going to make money from this. This is a really, really enjoyablehobby to.
Be involved with, but you have to be thinkingin part with your head as well. You’ve got to otherwise, you know,it just doesn’t make any sense.” If Graham does decide he wants tosell Fabrizio then he has got options. He could sell it either through a privatebuyer or he could take it to auction.
Is Tattersalls, the oldest bloodstockauctioneers in the world and the largest in Europe. It sells over 10,000 horses every year. “One of the advantages of coming toauction is that the horses all come to.” On average how much money is beingspent at one of these auctions?” “It varies considerably, at a sale likethis one today they’ll probably be turnover of around 5 million guineas. It’s used mainly fordetermining professional fees and auction prices. Horse racing is a lot about gambling and.
Thatfor a lot of people is the entertainment factor and you get a little bit ofthat here as well don’t you? “Yeah, undoubtedly the adrenalin rush that you getbidding might help you have another bid or two.” A high cost of a horse doesn’ttranslate to a champion.