Tim’s passion for racing has never waned, so much so that he will wake up in the middle of the night thinking about races we might win or horses we might buy. After all, now with over 1,400 individual owners, we have the dreams of all these syndicate members to realise.
He says: "Middleham Park is about serving people; providing them with a choice of top class bloodstock to buy into, taking owners to the stables to see their horses and talk with their trainers, firing in the winners and putting a smile on their faces. That makes the long hours all worthwhile."
The success is testament to our bloodstock team, which Tim says is the best we've ever had: A team that has bought the likes of our Group and Grade 1 winners TOORMORE (also Champion European 2 year old colt,) VENTURA STORM, THE PLATINUM QUEEN and MARIE'S ROCK. “We research as many pedigrees in depth as soon as possible before each sale and peruse as many individuals for sale personally as is practicably possible. Those we aren't able to view independently will be viewed by our bloodstock agents that we employ; notably the very well respected Peter & Ross Doyle, Federico Barberini and Highflyer Bloodstock. You can’t just turn up and hope to pick up a nice-looking animal on a budget, you have to do the leg work.”
“You should never come into racehorse ownership seeing it as an investment, as there can be so many pitfalls and if you do, it could easily lead to disappointment, something, we would rather avoid!” says Tim. “It’s about the thrill and cache, but sometimes you can strike it lucky and own one that rises in value through its racing prowess. For instance, in one evening alone at the Goffs London Sale, we sold two horses for a total of £1,000 000. They were initially purchased for a grand total of around £100,000 - returning a yield of approximately 10 times their initial cost for their owners, as well of course as the prize money they accrued." Both were black type winning horses and both bought by Tim and Tom. When we buy, we are looking for a quality racehorse that we hope will win for our owners and if race placed well, will also catch the eye of potential buyers. “We must consider the outlay that our owners make and do our best to give them something back. After all, having some money in the ‘pot’, allows you to spin the wheel again the following season, something many of our owners do each year!”
Buying our horses is just the beginning. We are fortunate to have superb relationships within the business, none more so than with our trainers. “We feel it’s important to have a broad spectrum, not just of the horses on offer, but where they are trained and by whom,” says Tim. “Location is key to lots of our owners, so our two largest strings on the flat are with Richard Hannon near Lambourn and Richard Fahey in Malton. We have eleven individual Newmarket trainers too, so have the main training centres very well covered.”
Effective race planning is an intrinsic aspect that the team spend an enormous amount of time on. Tom says: “When Premier Bond was entered for two races at the Cheltenham Festival by Nicky Henderson, I spent over 20 hours studying previous running’s, potential opposition, weights and jockey stats. I consulted Nicky and went to the owners with the facts. I always ask the opinion of the owners as, after all, it is their horse. When we manage a syndicate, we really put our backs into it!”
The racing fixture book is embedded into the teams’ minds, so much so that the syndicate managers will know the next race options virtually before the horse has even come out of the stalls. Having strong long standing relationships with trainers is such an advantage, with the respect of one another’s opinion, the team can suggest races that may have otherwise been ‘off the radar.’ “We maybe make life a bit harder for ourselves than required, given we want to be involved in every decision-making process but that’s one of the reasons we are where we are today!” says Tom.
We always include European races in our considerations and have horses trained in France now, as there is very good prize money on offer around Europe. We have sent runners to America, Australia, Bahrain, Dubai, France, Germany, Qatar, Sweden and Turkey and have had considerable success; picking up numerous ‘black-type’ prizes (see ‘Our Record.’) Then of course we have our owners' dreams to fulfil and those who have had the opportunity to go racing with their horses on Arc day, the French Derby or spending a weekend in Rome or Milan have had great fun. Then, of course, our owners have also had 'trips of a lifetime' to the Breeders' Cup and the Melbourne Cup - experiences that they will remember for a long while!” (see ‘Testimonials’)