Tuesday 17th June 2014 is a day that will stay with Richard for a very long time. This was the day The Wow Signal won at Royal Ascot and Harry Herbert, Racing Manager to Al Shaqab Racing introduced Richard to HH Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani with the words ‘Sir, this is Richard Knight who selected the horse for you.’ Without doubt this was Richard’s greatest ‘buzz’ that racing has given him to date.
Horses-in-training can be purchased either privately or by public auction. When purchasing privately you identify the horse of interest and make enquiries as to whether that horse can be purchased or not. Often the price is a stumbling block as the owners want to get well paid for selling privately and a horse that is worth £175,000 can end up needing to make £250,000 in order to purchase. Once a deal is agreed you get the horse vetted including x-rays. Purchasing to import into different countries comes with different rules with regards to vetting and the strictest is Hong Kong where the x-rays and vetting have to be accepted both in Europe and then in Hong Kong. A large percentage of horses fail the vetting for Hong Kong but still manage to pursue their careers in Europe and even the US without any further problems.
The horses-in-training sales are another option with the largest of the sales being held at Tattersalls at the end of October where over 1500 lots will be catalogued. 1500 horses don’t turn up though as there are always large numbers of withdrawals prior to the sale often with owners giving their horses ‘one more chance’. Once the catalogue is produced you have approximately 2 weeks to study, looking at the horses form and pedigrees and gaining as much knowledge as possible. Short-lists are produced at this stage and then you inspect the horses at the sale. The horses-in-training sale is a bit like a used-car auction and you can’t expect to see every horse as a correct and free moving individual as you do at the yearling sales. These are often athletes who have been in training for two full years and inevitably have niggles – the key is finding the horses which are manageable and which have the level of ability that you are looking for. If you are looking for a Dubai Carnival horse then you will likely need a budget in excess of £200,000 or if you are looking for a 90-rated, 3-year-old, mile and a ¼ horse to go jumping then you will need over £100,000. If you are willing to take a 4, 5 or 6 year old then you will find better value but you note that you are purchasing an older horse. As a rule the better the horses’ official BHA rating is and the younger the horse the more expensive they will be. Vetting once again is key and Richard would always encourage his owners to vet potential horses-in-training purchases.
With the pandemic in 2020 horse sales opened up dramatically via the use of online public auctions, and with the introduction of www.wesellbloodstock.com in 2021, this should be your first place to look for high-class horses-in-training. Wesellbloodstock.com identifies and sells only top class horses with a value of £50,000 and above and every horse in training listed is done so with a preliminary vet report (x-ray and scope) as well as high quality photos and video. Wesellbloodstock.com brings a new level to purchasing high-class horses-in-training and should be every purchasers first place to look.
Richard’s other horses-in-training successes include 2020 Jebel Ali Stakes L.R. winner Mark Of Approval who Richard selected for just 25,000gns and The Statesman who Richard selected for 90,000gns and re-sold for 310,000gns just 12 months later, having won 3 races on the flat (achieved an official rating of 95) and won his only start over hurdles by 16 lengths.
Another high-class performer was National Hunt selection Golden Birthday who cost £100,000 from the Cheltenham November sale. Golden Birthday was selected after running 2nd in a Punchestown bumper and went on to either win or place in 15 of his first 17 starts including winning a £35,000 class 2 hurdle (official rating of 147) and he also won 3 on the flat and achieved an official rating of 90.
If you are interested in purchasing a horse in-training please contact Richard on +44 7769 349240 or email [email protected]