Here’s how to own a Race Horse

Like most of you, for a long time we just thought owning a racehorse was for people with a lot of money. That was until a good friend showed me otherwise and directed me to Graeme at Thoroughbred Leasing. All of a sudden owning a racehorse became a reality, even to the point that we have shares in two.

Leasing…what’s that you ask?

Simply put it is exactly the same as owning, except without the risk.

Outside of a very small initial cost for your share, you don’t have to purchase your share for $1000s. The difference here is if you want to get out of a lease, it is as simple as written notice and the next month you are out.

Conversely, if you own a share you are stuck with the expense until you sell, which can be problematic if he/she doesn’t perform. The ONLY difference with leasing is your prize money share is slightly less, but not much.

With a lease you get all the race day privileges. Entry into the owners section, mounting yard, winners circle (if you are lucky enough) etc. etc. YOU get to brush shoulders with those ladies and gents you thought were the special ones. PLUS you can listen to the jockey before and after and chat to the trainer, and best of all you can enjoy all the excitement with your fellow owners.

Our experience at Thoroughbred Leasing has been exactly what I had hoped for. We had an early lease that didn’t make the track, and then now two that have.

We have had injuries and frustrating waits for our horses returns, but all the while Graeme ensures there are those all exciting email updates, and when things really heat up we get a voice message from the trainer. That’s what it is all about.

Manager: Graeme Smith – Thoroughbred Leasing

Trainer: Bjorn Baker Racing (Warwick Farm)

Facebook Page –  Baker Racing

Both of our horses are trained by Bjorn Baker out of Warwick Farm.

Most people may know Bjorn because of his Magic Millions 2YO win with Unencumbered, but many don’t realise that he started with just two boxes in 2011 and is now fast becoming one of the leading trainers in Sydney, and Australia for the matter.

He still obviously has strong links with his father Murray Baker in New Zealand, and regularly supports his horses when they come to Sydney. Some you may know of…..It’s a Dundeel anyone?….and between the pair they trained Lion Tamer to the 2010 Victorian Derby.

On a recent, and first visit to Warwick Farm to watch track work, Bjorn took an hour out of his most hectic schedule in the mornings to shows me all of the facilities at Warwick Farm, as well as introduce me to EVERY horse currently in work. Keep in mind he didn’t know who I was, and my % of ownership isn’t making him millions of $$.

Now for some of you this may seem like ‘so what’, but for the everyday person you will understand that this is a huge and exciting deal, and one that is much appreciated. It is those moments and that respect that make horse ownership all worth it, not just the race day excitement, but the feeling that you are part of something special, and something ‘bigger’ than just you. After all, that’s why we do it.

Our Horses


Pedigree: High Chaparral/Ice Cap

Sex: Female

Age: 4 years (foaled 4th November 2010)

Colour: Grey/Brown (pretty cool to be honest)

Trainer: Bjorn Baker (Warwick Farm) | Jason Deamer (Newcastle)

BACKGROUND: This mystical looking lady was foaled in New Zealand, where she has spent her early days on the lush pastures of the Waikato region, world famous for producing some of NZ’s best ever racehorses. Windsor Park Stud has been at the forefront of breeding success in NZ, for a good number of years.

Being a High Chaparral filly/mare, HIGH ALTITUDE is breed as a slower maturing stayer, and this has so far proved true. She started her racing career a little immature with a few nice trials and eventually as a late 3YO, a pair of races at Newcastle.

Her first start was superb, finishing 5th over much too short a distance (1200m), before showing her immaturity in her second start. Here she did everything wrong prior to the race, suggesting she was ready for a break, and her 11th said the same story.

Her second prep showed the promise we were hoping for. She matured and strengthened nicely, and first up at Cessnock over 1350m (never her ideal track or distance), she powered home wide for 3rd. The excitement definitely grew coming into her second up over 1500m at Hawkesbury. Against some great competition who have all subsequently placed or won in city class (Makeadane, Spinning Dawn and Yves Klein Blue), our little lady beat off all challenges in the sprint to the line before being blouse on the post by an unheard of inside run. Unfortunately, the firm surface caused a bit of impact on her knee so she went for a well-deserved spell for 5 months.

Since coming back, she has matured and strengthened amazingly, and it showed when she easily dominated a trial over just 797m. This effort prompted some positive comment from Bjorn and jockey Brenton Avdulla.

So, we headed to the races to get her third prep underway. Over 1200m (still way to short) at Newcastle on 14th March 2015, our little mare came up against some solid competition, including Thalia who was placed in the Group 3 Breeders at Flemington at her only start. After jumping well and sitting behind the speed, she got out a little later than the two favourites, and while she lost no ground they were just a little nippy over the distance, and she finished a fantastic 3rd.

Since then it has been a rollercoaster of poor runs, unlucky runs and a few solid 3rds. She has since moved to Newcastle to end her prep with Jason Deamer and after a solid freshened run first up, got caught behinds a wall with nowhere to go.

RECENT UPDATE: From all accounts, HIGH ALTITUDE has pulled up cherry ripe  and will hit Newcastle on the 11th July in a tough even field over 1400m. Time to break the maiden!

RACING REPLAYS: Racing replays can be found for High Altitude on the Racing NSW website.

Race 1High Altitude Race 28 March 2014

Race 2High Altitude Race 04 April 2014

Race 3High Altitude Race 12 April 2014

Race 4High Altitude Race 26 April 2014

Race 5High Altitude Race 02 September 2014

Race 6High Altitude Race 29 September 2014

Race 7High Altitude Race 12 October 2014

Race 8High Altitude Race 27 Feb 2015

Race 9High Altitude Race 14 Mar 2015

Race 10High Altitude Race 28 Mar 2015

Race 11High Altitude Race 11 Apr 2015

Race 12High Altitude Race 25 Apr 2015

Race 13High Altitude Race 05 May 2015

Race 14High Altitude Race 03 June 2015

Race 15High Altitude Race 13 June 2015

Race 16High Altitude Race 04 July 2015


Pedigree: Teofilo (IRE)/Kenbelle

Sex: Female

Age: 3 years (foaled 21st August 2011)

Colour: Brown

Trainer: Bjorn Baker (Warwick Farm)

BACKGROUND: Keofilo was purchased at the Magic Millions – National Yearling Sale in 2013. Her sire, Teofilo, who won 5 of 5 race starts including three Groups 1s, has sired 57 Stakes performers including 16 group winners and 17 listed winners. Add this to her Dam Kenbelle, who won the A.J.C Australian Oaks, and more recently won the 2013/14 Queensland Broodmare of the year.

You may of heard of her greatest foal to date – Boban who was horse of the year in 2013/14 and boasts $2,548,663 in prize money. Personally I think his best race was the Group 1 Epsom where he powered home to beat Stream on the line and deliver me a nice payday. You can watch the video reply here – Boban Epsom win (5th October 2013)

Back to our filly. Keofilo came to Bjorn’s stable and according to our manager “put her head on her chest and ran around the stables like she had been there a lifetime”. She has always been relaxed, which is the first hurdle. The next hurdle proved to be the most frustrating and showed another side to horse ownership.

Despite showing ability she required some minor surgery on her leg and needed 6 months recovery. Nonetheless, this time allowed her to mature physically, and upon coming back she was a bigger and stronger version. After a long and slow build up which included an impressive jump out, she started showing growing pains and went for a spell.

Finally, after a frustrating wait our girl got back. While she made the track for three starts, her prep was plagued with two viruses which stopped her from really pushing forward with the talent she had showed earlier. Fingers crossed the next prep she gets a nice break, and gets a clean run at it.

RECENT UPDATE: Keofilo is due back from a nice spell at Ascot Park. We await an new update on her condition.

RACING REPLAYS: Racing replays can be found for Keofilo on the Racing NSW website.

Race 1Keofilo Race 27 March 2015

Race 2Keofilo Race 25 April 2015

Race 3Keofilo Race 11 May 2015

Race 4Keofilo Race 21 May 2015