FAQs answered by Charlie.

Why should I buy a horse from Charlie Mann Racing or join a CMR syndicate?
Because I’m passionate about what I do, have a great eye, a good strike rate, and will do my utmost to ensure your horse does well.  It’s important that you enjoy your trainer’s company and respect their ability.  After all, we’llbe seeing quite a lot of each other!

Can I choose my horse at the sales?
You can certainly attend the sales with me, and hopefully I will steer you in the right direction when buying a horse.  A horse that winks at you and looks pretty might not have the age, pedigree and background required to make a great chaser!

Can I come and see my horse at the yard or on the gallops?
Of course!  Owners are always welcome to drop by – but please phone ahead first to make sure either myself or my Head Lad is here to greet you.  If you’re happy to get up early, you can always come watch your horse on the gallops, but it is an early start.

Can I bring friends, family and my clients to see my horse?
Yes.  That’s all part of the fun of racehorse ownership.

Can I say which racecourse my horse will run at, and which races?
You can certainly have input, but your trainer will know which courses your horse will be best suited to, and which type of races they should run in, according to their age and ability.  I will always ask for your permission and your agreement before entering your horse into a race.

If my horse wins a ‘big race’ and I decide to sell it, will I get megabucks?
If JP McManus gives you a ring, that’s quite possible!

Will having a racehorse be a nice addition to my investment portfolio? 
If you’re looking to make a quick buck then horseracing probably isn’t for you.  It’s an investment in fun and in your social life, not a serious financial investment with guaranteed financial returns.

What happens to my horse after it’s finished racing?
It’s important to find your horse a good home.  Thoroughbreds are extremely adaptable and can go on to riding club, hunting, dressage, showing and eventing careers.  There were seven ex racehorses competing at Badminton this year!  For more information go to http://www.ror.org.uk

How long is the National Hunt season?
We used to have the Summer off.  Now it’s just one day from the finish to the start.  It ends at the end of April and starts again in May.  This means that, over the Summer, the ground can be very hard (and too fast).  We’re careful not to run horses if we think they can’t cope with the ground as this can be dangerous.

How old are horses when they start their NH racing career?
Usually 3 or 4.  Flat horses start earlier at 2 years old.

What do you look for when you’re buying a horse?
Good gait and conformation.  Athleticism, good temperament and a ‘can do’ attitude! It’s important to buy a horse that tries.

What is a ‘bumper’?
A bumper is a flat race that’s run under National Hunt rules.  The horses can’t have raced on the flat before, or raced over hurdles.  It’s a ‘test’ race for potential National Hunt horses.  A way of testing them on the course, without jumps getting in the way.

How does the handicap system work?
Your horse has to run roughly three times to gain a handicap rating over a similar course.  Sometimes a handicap rating is given after only one race.  The higher the rating, the better the horse.

Can I change my horse’s name?
The short answer is no.  Even if the horse has run in a point-to-point only, it has to have the name it was given.  You can only change the name of a horse that hasn’t ever raced.

How do you enter a horse into a race?
Entries close five days prior to the race and all the entries are done through Weatherbys.  The horse is then ‘declared’ as definitely running the day before the race by 10.00am.

How will I know if my horse is running?
It’s my job to keep you in the know.  Sometimes horses are withdrawn the day before because the ground isn’t up to par.

What is the prize money like?
It very much depends on the race.  Prize money can range from £2000 for a small race to £500,000 for big races like The Grand National.

How far do horses race?
National Hunt horses usually race between 2 and 4.5 miles.  Flat horses are sprinters so their races tend to be shorter.

Who are Weatherbys?
Weatherbys are the people that hold the purse strings and administer the winnings between owner, trainer, jockey, etc.  An account has to be opened with them.  As your trainer I will advise you about this to ensure you understand the process.

Can I choose my own colours?
Yes – if they haven’t been used before.  They need to be registered with Weatherbys, but then they are yours for life.  The cost depends on the individual set of colours chosen, and they are all made up by the same company.

How is the prize money split?
You get the lion’s share, minus costs for jockey, training fees, entry fees, travel etc.  Both myself and the jockey get 10%, stable staff and racing charities 5%.

What if I have a particular jockey in mind?
I usually suggest the jockey, but if you wanted somebody specific I could certainly check their availability if I think they might be appropriate.

Can I claim back VAT?
If your horse is sponsored by a company, then you can claim back VAT on purchase price and training fees.

What other cost/bills can I expect?
Jockey fees, entry fees and transportation fees. Jockey fees are roughly £160 (inc. VAT), with race entry fees being anything from £10.00 for the smallest race. Transportation costs of course vary. I will always check costs with you upfront. If you are in a syndicate, these costs tend to be included in the price.

How much are training costs for a year?
It usually comes in around the £20K mark, plus VAT.

What about insurance?
The rates vary according to the horse and whether it’s running over jumps or on the flat. Weatherbys Hamilton do good rates if you wish to insure your horse.

How much will a racehorse cost me?
It very much depends on the background, age and experience of the horse. Horses can be picked up at the sales from £5,000 upwards. Some horses change hands for ridiculous amounts of money. I will always try and find you the best deal, with your budget in mind.

Where do I start?
Give me a ring. We can have a chat, assess what you’re after and what you’d like to achieve, and take it from there.