Keep Owners in Racing

Owners are the life-blood of our sport; the most important stakeholder; making the greatest investment into racing with over £672m a year spent on training fees and bloodstock.

Image: © Daily Mail
A crowd of people celebrating a racing victory

Only 2% of owners cover their annual costs

Without owners there is no racing and the whole edifice of racecourses, trainers, breeders, syndicators and sales houses crumbles. Racing is reliant on this continuing investment which, in turn, drives a £4bn+ economic contribution to the UK economy. Yet many owners feel dissatisfied by the way they are treated. Prizemoney is paltry and deteriorating: less than 2% of owners get anywhere near covering their annual costs, and the median return via prizemoney is less than 7p in the pound.

A printed copy of Blueprint for a Racing Recovery Plan

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Blueprint for aRacing Recovery Plan

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Ownership Experience

The ownership experience frequently falls way below expectations. It is hard to influence the direction of our sport. Owners feel they are the “unacknowledged stakeholders” of British racing and are concerned that their views go unheard. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Many believe racing is facing a crisis with dissatisfied owners are giving up on the game – with huge financial implications for the sport.

We produced A Blueprint for Racehorse Ownership in the UK: Making retention and acquisition of owners the number 1 goal of the racing recovery plan. We challenge racing’s leadership to produce such a plan by October 2020.

Perspectives in Racing Films

Film one
Trainer view with George Baker

George Baker; Trainer at George Baker Training

Film length: 21 minutes

Editor note: Recorded via video meeting and due to this has slight interference at the start of the film.

Watch

Film two
Syndication view with Dan Abraham and Tom Palin

Focus: Syndication strategy featuring Dan Abraham, Syndicate Manager; Foxtrot Racing and Chair of the Racehorse Syndicates Association, with Tom Palin, Director, Middleham Park Racing

Film length: 25 minutes

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Film three
Trainer view with Mark Johnston

Focus: The view from the top; with the winning-most British Trainer, Mark Johnston. Johnston Racing.

Film length: 21 minutes

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Film four
Creating an engaging ownership experience with Fergal O’Brien, Sally Randell and Dr Simon Gillson

Focus: The team at Ravenswell Farm debate the need for greater transparency and how they’ve improved communications for owners, especially with racing BCD.

Film length: 21 minutes.

Watch

Film five
Trainer and Owner view with Philip Hobbs and David Parry

Focus: Funding, trainer communications and how racing needs to work together.

Film length: 19 minutes

Watch

Film six
Long-term multiple owner view with Tom Morley

Focus: Tom Morley discusses with Jon Hughes and Ged Shields his insights on funding, the attraction of the owner on-course experience (or the lack of), plus more.

Film length: 20 minutes

Watch

Film seven
Trainer view with Gay Kelleway; Gay Kelleway Racing

Focus: Gay Kelleway debates with Jon Hughes and Ged Shields racing in France, the threats to UK racing and improving the owner experience.

Film length: 15 minutes

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Film eight
Jon Hughes and Ged Shields review the BHA & group recovery plan

Focus: Blueprint co-authors analysis of the BHA & group recovery plan & why it needs a second, time-based edition in order to reverse the long odds of creating the change needed.

Film length: 16 minutes

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Film nine
Jon Hughes Interview with Sean Boyce - Sky Sports Racing 20.9.2020

Focus: Jon Hughes debates the four pillars of progress needed for the recovery of racing

Film length: 8 minutes

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Film ten
Trainer and Syndicate manager view with Nick Bradley

Focus: Syndicate growth planning; And discussion on the funding gaps in UK racing.

Film length: 25 minutes

Watch

Film eleven
The view from a funding stakeholder with Alex Frost, Chief Executive Officer at the UK TOTE Group

Focus: How the ambition & goals of the UK TOTE Group can support the needed funding co-ordination & unity for racings future.

Film length: 19 minutes

Watch

100 days campaign blog

Blog one
Team Racing – why Racing needs more than ever to collaborate

If a week is a long time in politics, then a fortnight is definitely a long time in the launch of a campaign.  When Ged Shields and I introduced our Blueprint for Racehorse Ownership in the... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog two
Peace breaks out (hopefully) – Levy board pours oil on troubled waters (again)

During lockdown there was a rare outbreak of collaborative behaviour across racing’s fragmented and disunited stakeholders in the Resumption of Racing Group.  Just about everyone rallied around to... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog three
Signing the pledge – and we’re not talking about going teetotal

At the heart of our campaign to Keep Owners in Racing we have advocated a strongly collaborative approach to be adopted by all the leaders of British racing. Maintaining unity and common purpose... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog four
“Money, money, money” – it’s a horsemen’s world

Our 100-day campaign to apply pressure on British Racing to develop a highly practical Recovery of Racing Plan broadly coincides with the first 100 days in office of the new Chairman of the... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog five
Current on and off-course owner experience - is it good enough?

It’s hard not to feel desperately sorry for racecourses. From March onwards they have been haemorrhaging money: the majority of staff furloughed, sponsorship deals cancelled, hospitality events... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog six
The base of the pyramid crumbles – ignore at your peril

British racing is a big industry, and at the top tier of the sport a considerable amount of money can be made. In the Blueprint we examined the profitability of all the stakeholders. In 2019, the... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog seven
Vive La France: Liberté, égalité, fraternité – and lots of prize-money!

Trainers and owners crossing the Channel in search of prize-money has been much in the news recently, which is hardly surprising in view of the dire economics in the UK. Gay Kelleway, apparently,... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog eight
12 Angry Men (& Women) – compulsory viewing for racing's leadership

Back in the 1950s there was an excellent US courtroom drama where jurors were forced to question their values and judgement by the character played by the peerless Henry Fonda. It is an excellent... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog nine
The 9-Point recovery plan for British racing – a bit of a curate's egg

In the 1890s, Punch magazine ran a series of cartoons about a timid curate eating breakfast with his bishop. On being told by the bishop that he seemed to have a bad egg, the curate piped up: “Oh... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog ten
Crossing the chasm, not papering over the cracks – time for radical actions

Those with a fondness for Warner Bros. cartoons will remember Wile E. Coyote as he tried all sorts of complicated ways of catching his prey, the Road Runner.  A running gag was of Coyote’s  legs... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog eleven
If you want a plan of action – learn from a general (or management consultant)

Have you heard the bells of Peover? All will be revealed. When Ged Shields and I launched our campaign on 12th July to make the retention and acquisition of owners the number 1 goal of a racing... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog twelve
“Order, Order” – MPs Should Hold the BHA to Account for the Recovery Plan

On Thursday 3rd September we wrote to 94 MPs and requested their support for a Racing Recovery Plan, not least by Parliament holding the BHA to account for its quality and urgent delivery. All... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog thirteen
Owners – Our Sport Needs You! But Where Are the Incentives?

In the most recent Perspectives in Racing film, I became a bit carried away towards the end with the military theme that I had woven into Blog 11. This time it was to do with Lord Kitchener and... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog fourteen
Drama, Debates, Dinners and Digital Dialogues – From the mighty Nijinsky to his relative, Australis

50 years ago I watched Nijinsky win the St. Leger. Such drama. I watched it on black and white TV but saw a photograph of the green, yellow and red colours. I subsequently adopted these for my... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog fifteen
The Corridors of Power – Securing Government and MPs’ Support for the Recovery Plan

Throughout the creation of the blueprint, Ged Shields and I adopted a carefully segmented approach to all the main component parts of British racing. We analysed public domain data and then... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog sixteen
The Three Pillars – Not the EU or Zen Buddhism, but Our Critical Priorities for British Racing

Sean Boyce kindly invited me to take part in The Racing Debate on Sky Sports Racing last Sunday, and I concentrated on the need for an urgent focus by British Racing on three critical priorities,... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog seventeen
Oliver Twist Asked for More – The Begging Bowl Comes Out Again for Sport and British Racing

There have been a number of metaphors recently about British Racing, the Recovery Plan and the funding crisis, and doubtless there will be many more over subsequent weeks. Take your pick from... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog eighteen
Time for a Task Force – A Coalition of the Capable, the Competent and the Committed

The Keep Owners in Racing team have had a really busy few weeks, with a considerable number of phone calls and Zoom conferences covering not just the key stakeholders but also many individuals who... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog nineteen
To Boldly Go – In Search of Ways to Connect Racing’s Parallel Universe

Are you in the camp of those who love Star Trek and the adventures of USS Enterprise, or someone who loathes it? I’m in the former and my wife is in the latter. When she was a criminal lawyer in... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog twenty
Zoom In on Racing’s Marketing Strategy – Is There One?

The KOIR campaign team is steeped in marketing talent. Co-author of the Blueprint, Ged Shields, spent his career in international marketing (famously coming up with the phrase, “Does Exactly What... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog twenty-one
Marking the ROA’s Homework, Part 1 – Assessing an Ownership Strategy

The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) had the responsibility of producing an Industry Ownership Strategy, supported by a £1.5m grant from the Horserace Betting Levy Board and the Racing... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog twenty-two
Stairway to Heaven – Three Critical Steps to Sort Out Prize-Money

“Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run There’s still time to change the road you’re on" For many years the Racing Post has profiled numerous racing personalities and asked... Read
Ged Shields

by Ged Shields

Blog twenty-three
What Did the Romans Ever Do For Britain – or the ROA, For That Matter?

One of my favourite sketches from Life of Brian is the one where a bunch of conspirators is being challenged by John Cleese to denounce the Romans. The repeated refrain of “What have the Romans... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

Blog twenty-four
Reimagining Ownership – So Much More to Do.  We’ll Be Back.

It’s often said that dog lovers grow to resemble their animals, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s often the same with racehorse owners.  My co-author of the Blueprint, Ged Shields, and I... Read
Jon Hughes

by Jon Hughes

PDF Downloads

Download one
Keep Owners in Racing 50 days in campaign progress report

Back on 12th July, Ged Shields and Jon Hughes launched our Blueprint for Racehorse Ownership in the UK: Making retention and acquisition of owners the number 1 goal of a Racing Recovery Plan. As we are now just past the 50 days point see the two-page summary and analysis of the progress so far..

Download

Download two
MP call for support for Racing Recovery Plan review

Our intention was always to keep pressure on British Racing to produce and implement a meaningful Recovery Plan. We were encouraged when Nick Rust made his announcement about the “9 Goals”, but there is clearly a huge amount of urgent, concerted and collaborative action required if the sport is to address the challenges ahead and mitigate the looming crisis of a major contraction in racing. The call for review support from UK government is to aid and assist making “recovery” a reality.

Download

Download three
100-days campaign completion briefing: review and recommendations

Jon Hughes and Ged Shields present their findings on the completion of the Keep Owners in Racing initial campaign, along with their recommendations for reimaging racehorse ownership.

Download

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The conversation on Twitter 

RT @RSAsyndicates: Fancy a profile page on https://t.co/KP4jYAhpwG for £50+VAT per year reduced from £300? It's a dead cert when you join t… View tweet
RT @Racingwelfare: We're delighted to announce that after the success of both our Virtual Yorkshire & Epsom open days we will be bringing y… View tweet
RT @itvracing: This weekend 11-time champion trainer @PFNicholls joins @RishiPersad1, @aliceplunkett, @mickfitzg and @MCYeeehaaa on The Ope… View tweet

The Authors of this Blueprint for Racehorse Ownership in the UK

A photograph of Jon Hughes

Jon Hughes

An owner since 2004 with 94 winners so far. Current trainers are Karl Burke, Philip Hobbs, Anthony Honeyball, Martin Keighley and Charlie Longsdon. Involved with 21 horses, from foals to chasers. Former chairman and co-founder of specialist management consultancies in procurement and supply chain, and visiting professorships at the University of Birmingham and Vlerick Leuven Gent Business School. Chairman of Martin Keighley’s yard in Gloucestershire.

jon@ownersforowners.co.uk
01451-850780

A photograph of Ged Shields

Ged Shields

Involved in racehorse ownership since 2015 and has had 38 winners so far. Current trainers are Ruth Carr, Richard Fahey, Ralph Beckett, Ed Walker and Willie Mullins. At present has shares in 18 Flat horses and one National Hunt chaser – Gr.1 winner Kemboy. Former Vice President of The Sherwin-Williams Company with international experience in marketing and mergers & acquisitions. Stood for the Racehorse Owners’ Association board in 2020.

ged.shields@yahoo.co.uk
01226-495149

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