Skip to main content

Picture : Trainer Joe Pride with leading The Everest contender Think About It. CREDIT: PETER RAE

Syndicates giving small investors growing ownership of the world’s richest race on turf

Adam Pengilly (Sydney Morning Herald)
It was once said buying a horse is like buying a used car: you need to do your homework, have the experience, listen closely to the salesman – but, above all, you need dumb luck.
The $20 million The Everest is propped up by 12 uber-wealthy slot-holders, who stump up $700,000 per year for the privilege of choosing a runner in the race.
But this year, more than ever, the mix of giant corporations, stud farms and business people who own the slots have been begging retirees, engineers, property managers, doctors, teachers and chief executives to sign up their horses for the richest horse race ever to be run in Australia.
For the first time in the race’s history, five horses from some of Australia’s major racehorse syndication companies will line up in The Everest.
Between them, the five horses cost just $577,500 when they were bought by syndication firms in various sales rings across the country. The syndication firms then did what syndication firms do – sold small percentages of ownership in each horse to mum-and-dad Australians. So many small-time investors took up the offers that this year’s seventh running of The Everest will see the highest number of individual owners ever to be involved in the race.
Two of the race’s favourites, the Joe Pride-trained stablemates Think About It and Private Eye, are raced by Proven Thoroughbreds, which will have more than 50 individual owners on course at Royal Randwick competing against sheikhs and billionaires.
As the costs of owning a racehorse surge, thoroughbred racing administrators have identified a small outlay as part of large ownership groups as the way to keep the industry sustainable, while major players such as Proven Thoroughbreds principal Jamie Walter look for bargains like Think About It ($70,000) and Private Eye ($62,500).
“It’s almost a reflection of what the Australian ownership landscape is these days: big studs and syndications,” Walter says of The Everest field.
“It’s tremendous for us to have so many owners involved in big races. There’s a couple of people whose first horse is Think About It.
“But the days of three or four mates racing a horse, or an individual, are almost gone. The owners of tomorrow are the syndicates or the big studs.”
There are even more extreme examples of mass ownership.
A model under which ownership in one horse is divided into hundreds of micro shares has also been tried. Many of the owners might not ever get to meet each other, but one day they hope to compete for the riches in The Everest.
The race’s inaugural winner, Redzel, went on to defend his title in 2018 and was raced by Triple Crown Syndications, which will return with Mazu to the race for the second straight year. Triple Crown paid just $180,000 for Mazu as a yearling.
Darby Racing found an even cheaper prospect in $75,000 purchase Overpass, who will join Mazu and Private Eye as the only three horses to return to The Everest from 2022.
“We’ve been doing this for 17 years and in the early days [syndication] wasn’t just competitive, it was ruthless,” Darby Racing principal Scott Darby says. “But today everyone seems to get on well and there’s a great respect for your top syndicators. Generally, you’re very happy to see any syndicator win a big race because it’s helping your business as well.
“You’re getting your everyday owner involved in those group 1 races. It’s not just one syndicator dominating, they’re all over Australia. When you talk to people overseas, they envy how syndicators bring so many everyday Australians into racing.”
The winner of next week’s The Everest will pocket $7 million to be split between slot-holders and the horse’s connections. Even if a horse runs last, it will still earn $700,000.
There will be pandemonium no matter which horse wins the race, but race organisers will be extra keen for the mass celebration to come from a syndicated horse, with average Australians in the ownership.

“When I established Star [Thoroughbreds], the requirement was for each horse to have a maximum of six registered owners,” says syndicator Denise Martin, who has brokered a deal for $190,000 filly Espiona to contest this year’s race. “That increased to eight and you can really have as many as you like. She looks like a very inexpensive filly now.”