Initial Outlay

First up, let’s talk purchase price – how much does it cost to buy a racehorse? There is no definitive answer to this question. Prices vary depending on a few factors, including the horse’s breeding and bloodlines, and its physical conformation, and can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to well over $1 million dollars.

Horses are most commonly sold as yearlings (between 18 and 22 months of age) and these sales occur between January and June each year. Australia has two major public auction houses – Inglis and Magic Millions – who conduct sales all over Australia, including monthly online auctions.

The average price of a yearling in Australia in 2021 was $118,827. A 5% share in a horse at the price is going to set you back $5,941.35.

However, purchase price isn’t a guarantee of ability. There have been plenty of expensive yearlings who have gone on to be mediocre racehorses. The key thing here is to have a clear understanding of how much you can afford to invest, knowing that you may not re-coup your costs.

On the other hand, there are countless examples of inexpensive horses enjoying great success. The mighty Behemoth – winner of three Group Ones and over $3 million in prizemoney – was bought for only $6,000 as a yearling.

At the end of the day, there is a horse for every budget.

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Training Fees

Training fees are charged at a daily rate and vary from trainer to trainer. As a rule, you can expect to pay a higher daily rate with a metropolitan or city-based trainer. This is because their track-fees, staffing costs, insurance, feed bills and other associated costs with running a business are generally higher than those of trainers based in rural or regional areas.

Training fees are also dictated to a certain degree by trainer performance. If your preference is to have a horse in training with one of the leading stables, be prepared to pay top-dollar. While these fees might seem expensive at first glance, it doesn’t mean trainers are making a huge profit. For the most part, daily fees and expenses only cover the cost of running their business and caring for your horse. Trainers make their money from winning races: they receive 10% of prizemoney won by the horses in their stable.

Other common charges that you can expect to see on your monthly bill include farrier, equine physiotherapy, veterinary inspections, and dietary supplements.

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Breaking In

If you buy a horse as a yearling, a charge that you can expect to see on your bill is a breaking in fee. Most yearlings head to the breakers shortly after being purchased. Some trainers prefer to let them have a few weeks in the paddock to rest, while others are happy for the process to start straight away.

On average, breaking in takes between two and four weeks but it’s important to remember that each horse is an individual and some will take longer. During this period, they will be taught to carry a rider and start on basic fitness.

All the costs are charged out in relation to your percentage of ownership. Working off our 5% model, if the breaking in fee is $3,000, you’ll be accountable for $150.00.

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Spelling and Pre-Training

If you are a regular follower of the races, then you already know that horses don’t stay in training 365 days a year. They will spend time in a paddock spelling in between each preparation.

Spelling farms also charge at a daily rate but it is considerably less than the training rate. After your horse has finished its spell, it will go into pre-training for a couple of weeks before heading back into your trainer’s stable. Again, pre-training is charged at a daily rate and cost-wise, it generally sits in the middle of spelling and training.

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