Group 1 winning 2-year-old The Wow Signal highlights Richard’s ability to find and purchase a top class horse-in-training. Purchased on behalf of Al Shaqab Racing Ltd having won his maiden at Ayr on debut, The Wow Signal went on to win the Gr.2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Gr.1 Prix Morny.
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 (see main image, on the right) 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 purchased the horse for you.’ Without doubt this was Richard’s greatest ‘buzz’ that racing and purchasing 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 here and there – 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.
Other horses-in-training successes include 2020 Jebel Ali Stakes L.R. winner Mark Of Approval who Richard purchased for just 25,000gns and The Statesman who Richard purchased 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 purchase Golden Birthday who cost £100,000. Golden Birthday was purchased 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 either privately or by public auction please contact Richard on +44 7769 349240 or email [email protected]