Owners’ toolkit

Register as an owner

For a horse to race in your name, or the name of a Company, Partnership, Syndicate or Racing Club, you will need to register these details with the BHA.

More information can be found here.

Register your racing colours

You can register a set of racing colours through the Racing Admin system (after you have registered as an owner) or alternatively via the BHA website.

When registering colours there are two options available:

  • A standard set – you can design your colours using the 18 different shades and 25 different patterns available;
  • A bespoke set – you can build your colours from scratch (this option is only available through the BHA website and a premium fee is applicable).

Registering your own set of racing colours is not mandatory unless you intend to run a horse in your own, or a Company, name. In Partnerships, Syndicates and Racing Clubs colours can be shared or alternatively registered to the entity itself.

Register an authority to act

An authority to act authorises another individual - most often a licensed trainer (or their appointed sub-agent) - to carry out various administrative tasks on your behalf including adding horses into your ownership, completing registration forms and making entries and declarations.

An authority to act is registered via the Racing Admin system.

Register to reclaim VAT on your racing expenses

Through the VAT Registration Scheme for Racehorse Owners, all racehorse owners are potentially eligible to reclaim VAT on their racing expenses.

A step-by-step guide to registering to reclaim VAT can be found here

Further advice on the scheme and eligibility can be found on the HMRC website here. Alternatively you can contact the VAT Help Desk at Weatherbys via BHAVAT@weatherbys.co.uk.

Ensure you have a training agreement in place

To ensure that everyone understands the terms of the training arrangement, it is important to have a written agreement in place between you and your trainer.

The terms which should be outlined in the agreement can be found here and include:

  • The basic training fee;
  • Other regular expenses (such as gallop fees, shoeing costs and the like)
  • Any additional charges or expenses (such as veterinary fees)
  • The time and method of payment by the owner.

A template agreement that has been produced by the ROA and NTF can be found here, but an alternative version can be used as long as the minimum requirements detailed in the Rules of Racing are covered.

What should I do if I don’t have access to a computer?

If you do not have access to a computer, tablet or mobile, on which you can complete your registrations, in the first instance, it is recommended you speak to your trainer, or a relative, who may be able to help you get online and complete the forms.

If this is not possible, you can call the Weatherbys Ownership Desk (01933 440 077) who will be able to assist.

Do I need to register as an owner?

Anyone wishing to own a horse in their own, or a Company, name needs to register as an owner. In addition all Partnerships, Syndicates and Racing Clubs will need to be registered too. Partners in a Partnership and Syndicators and Racing Club managers will also need to become registered owners.

Syndicators and Club managers are the people who manage, administer and promote Syndicates and Racing Clubs respectively.

Syndicate and Racing Club members do not need to register as owners.

If you are already a registered owner in another country and you wish to have a horse trained in Britain you will need to register as an owner in this country. If, however, you are a registered owner in another jurisdiction, and only wish to race a horse in Britain which is trained elsewhere you do not need to register as an owner. For more advice on racing a horse trained outside of Britain please contact the Weatherbys Ownership Desk.

How do I know which type of ownership is right for me?

There are five different types of ownership

SOLE COMPANY PARTNERSHIP SYNDICATE RACING CLUB
Who is it for? For people wishing to own a horse outright, be a member in a Partnership, a syndicator or a club manager For organisations wishing to own a horse under the name of a company or businessFor two or more sole owners wishing to own a horse together. Partnerships are often comprised of family and friends For a group of people coming together to own a horse, but who do not have to be sole owners in their own right For a group of people coming together to experience racehorse ownership, but unlike in a syndicate, members of the club do not own the horse
Where do you register? BHA websiteBHA websiteRacing AdminRacing AdminRacing Admin
How many people are involved? 1All of the company, acting through a registered agent (although they do not need to be registered owners)At least 2 partners, but there is no maximum At least 1 syndicator and at least 2 members. There is no maximum number of syndicators or membersAt least 1 club manager and any number of members. There is no maximum number of club managers
Who are the responsible persons? The sole ownerThe company officersAll of the partnersThe syndicator(s)The club manager(s)

How do I register as an owner?

To register as a Sole or Company owner you can complete the application here

To register a new Partnership, Syndicate or Racing Club you can complete this application via the Racing Admin system. To access the Racing Admin system and set up these ownerships you will first need to register as a Sole or Company owner.

What is my racecard name?

This is the name that will appear in the racecard. In the instance that you are registering to become a Sole owner this should be your name. If it is a company registration, it should be the name of the company as it appears on Companies House.

In the instance that it is a name for a Partnership, Syndicate of Racing Club, it is important that the name is not misleading. As such, it should not be the name of an individual and to differentiate Racing Clubs from other entities, these must include Club or Racing Club in their name.

Why do I need to open a racing account?

You must open a racing account to allow the BHA to pay you prize money in an efficient, secure and timely manner. It also allows for automatic payment of entry, jockey and future registration fees.

A BHA Direct Debit arrangement is a simple monthly invoice account which is settled by Direct Debit on, or around, the 15th of each month.

It is restricted solely to your racing transactions (entry fees, jockey fees, prize money, gallop fees and ROA Membership) and does not extend to your payment of training fees.

In the instance that you do not want to set up a BHA Direct Debit arrangement, you can open a Weatherbys Bank account. To find out more please contact Weatherbys Bank directly.

Should I join the ROA?

The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) promotes the interests of racehorse owners in Great Britain.

As well as offering a range of membership benefits, the association has developed a wide range of resources to support new owners on their journey into racing. Visit roa.co.uk to find out more.

Once I have completed the application form what happens next?

Before new ownership applications are registered they are considered by the BHA. While applications can be approved on the same day, the process can take up to two working days.

Once you are registered, you will be able to manage and administer your ownership via the Racing Admin system. If you are registering as a Sole or Company owner, upon approval, you will receive information on how to set up a login to the Racing Admin system.

Is it compulsory to register a set of racing colours?

Registering your own set of racing colours is not mandatory unless you intend to run a horse in your own, or a Company, name. In Partnerships, Syndicates and Racing Clubs colours can be shared or alternatively registered to the entity itself.

How do I register a set of racing colours?

You can register a set of racing colours through the racing admin system after you have registered as an owner or alternatively via the BHA website.

When registering colours there are two options available:

  1. A standard set – you can pick your colours using the 18 different shades and 25 different patterns available;
  2. A bespoke set – you can build your colours from scratch (this option is only available through the BHA website and a premium fee is applicable).

How do I know which colours are still available?

You can check the availability of standard colours here.

For queries relating to bespoke colours you can call the Weatherbys Ownership Desk (01933 440077).

Can I have more than one set of colours?

Yes - you will simply need to nominate one as your primary set via the Racing Admin system, but this can be changed.

Do I have to renew my colours annually?

Yes - whether you register a set of standard or bespoke colours the annual re-registration fee is the same. Alternatively you can renew your colours for 5, 10 or 20 years at a time.

In the instance that you do not renew your colours you will not be able to use them to race. In addition, they can become available for someone else to register.

Can I transfer or share my colours?

Yes – colours can be shared between people and the ownership entities they are part of and can be transferred from person to person. Both sharing and transferring colours can be done via the Racing Admin System.

While there is no fee to share colours, there is a charge for colours that are transferred between non-family members with the transferee paying.

Can I sell my colours?

Owners can sell their colours via the BHA Vintage Colours scheme. In addition, the BHA stages annual auctions at which you can sell the right to register their colours to other people. You can also sell your colours privately. Before doing this it is advisable to check with the BHA in advance to ensure that any prospective buyer will be able to re-register the colours.

Why do I need an authority to act?

An authority to act authorises another individual - most often a licensed trainer (or their appointed sub-agent) - to carry out various administrative tasks on your behalf including adding horses into your ownership, signing registration forms and making entries and declarations.

An authority to act is registered via the Racing Admin system.

Why are there different kinds of authority to act?

There are different kinds of authority to act based on who you are (owner, trainer, jockey…) and who you are appointing. The most common authority to act is the one which involves an owner appointing a trainer to act on their behalf.

Do I need more than one authority to act?

You will need to complete an authority to act for each trainer you have a horse with as a Sole or Company owner.

In the case of a Partnership, only one Partner will need an authority to act with the trainer. For Syndicates and Racing Clubs only one of the Syndicators/Club Managers will need an authority to act with the trainer.

Do I have to renew my authorities to act annually?

Yes – this can also be set up to charge a Partnership, Syndicate or Racing Club.

What are the conditions for the VAT Registration Scheme for Racehorse Owners?

You can apply for VAT registration under the scheme if you are registered as an owner and you own a horse or horses covered by a sponsorship agreement.

To reclaim VAT in your own name you will need to own at least 50% of the horse. If you do not, you can still reclaim VAT, but you would need to join with others to own a combined 50% and then reclaim VAT as a group.

It is important to remember that to reclaim VAT in your own name you must own 50% of any horse in question, as opposed to shares totalling 50% across multiple horses. Sometimes, if this distinction is not understood it can lead to claim duplication (i.e. a syndicate reclaims VAT for the entity and then one of the individual owners reclaims the VAT again in their own name despite not being eligible). If you have any concerns or require advice please contact the VAT helpdesk at Weatherbys (01933 440077).

Why do my horses need to be sponsored?

By ensuring your horses are sponsored, your ownership will be considered a business activity by HMRC. You can then register for VAT and recover some of the VAT you are charged as input tax.

How do I get my horses sponsored?

Horses can be sponsored as part of a yard or collective sponsorship deal or through a deal arranged directly between you and a sponsor. To find out whether your horse is, or can, be covered by a yard deal it is best to first speak to your trainer.

Sponsorships can be registered via the Racing Admin system and more information on sponsorship can be found in the Owners’ Sponsorship Code of Conduct . The Code also outlines other requirements of owners (e.g. displaying thelogo of their sponsor) to meet the requirements of the Sponsorship Framework for Racehorse Owners.

Does it cost to register a sponsorship with the BHA?

Every ownership entity that registers a sponsorship with the BHA will be charged a fee. Irrespective of how many horses are being sponsored, however, the fee charged will remain the same; it is only charged once.

As part of the sponsorship arrangement, however, you must receive payment from your sponsor. The minimum amount you must receive is detailed in the Owners’ Sponsorship Code of Conduct .

Once my horse is sponsored how do I register to reclaim VAT?

To register to reclaim VAT on your racing expenses simply follow the steps outlined in this guide.

What can I reclaim VAT on?

Owners can reclaim VAT on their racing expenses. This includes, but it not limited to:

  • Purchase price of the horse
  • Training/gallop fees
  • Vet/farrier fees
  • Jockey fees
  • Transport fees

In addition, VAT on training fees from up to six months before the date of your VAT registration can be claimed back. If you own a horse outright, you are also able to claim back VAT on the purchase price up to four years before your VAT registration date, or up to six months before if you own it in part. The reason for this disparity is owing to how goods and services are treated differently by HMRC and if you have any questions please contact the VAT Helpdesk at Weatherbys (01933 440077).

More information can be found here .

Who can I call for additional help?

If you require any additional assistance you can contact the VAT Helpdesk at Weatherbys (01933 44007).

How do I check if a name is available?

You can check the availability of horse names on the BHA website

How do I reserve a horse name?

You can reserve names using the Racing Admin system. There are two types of reservation available; ‘Temporary’ reservation which holds the name for 90 days and is free of charge if the horse name is formally registered within this period and ‘a years reservation’, which, for a fee, holds the name for a period of one year. It should be noted however that the reservation of a name cannot does not guarantee acceptance of suitability for registration.

How do I register a horse name?

You can register a horse name using the Racing Admin system.

Can I change the name of my horse once it has been registered?

In some instances you are able to change the name of your horse. In Great Britain or Ireland the name of a horse may not be changed if the horse in question has either raced (point to points included) or bred any progeny, except by express permission of the British Horseracing Authority.

Further restrictions may apply in the case of Foreign Turf Authorities.

How do I register a lease?

If you intend to lease a horse you will need to complete a lease agreement. The agreement can be downloaded here and should be returned to registrations@weatherbys.co.uk

What is a non-racing agreement?

A non-racing agreement is an agreement under which a horse which has been retired from racing by its owner and is transferred to another person, but subject to a condition that the horse will not race again.

Any horse which is the subject of a non-racing agreement will automatically be prevented from being entered to run in a race under the Rules of Racing, but may be permitted to race in Point-to-Points, if specified on the NRA.

How do I register a non-racing agreement?

You can register a non-racing agreement by filling out this form .

Can a non-racing agreement be revoked?

Yes - to revoke a non-racing agreement this form should be completed. It will need to be signed by both the original buyers and sellers (the same people who signed the initial non-racing agreement).

Where can I find out how much registrations cost?

All BHA fees are listed in the Rules of Racing here .

When will I pay to renew my registrations?

Unless you have opted to register your colours for 5, 10 or 20 years, you will pay annually to re-register your colours, authority to act and VAT registrations.

To reduce the drip-feeding of fees, payment to renew these registrations will be aligned to one date in the year. If you are already an existing owner this is likely to fall on the date that you first registered a set of colours. If you are a new owner this will be the date that you registered your ownership.

How can I cancel registrations in my name?

Colours, sponsorships and authority to act registrations can all be terminated via the Racing Admin system.

To terminate ownerships, VAT or a lease, you will need to contact Weatherbys in writing.

Once I have registered a Company how do I update the directors?

You can update the directors of a company using the Racing Admin system. To change the key director you can call the Ownership Desk at Weatherbys (01933 440077).

Once I have registered a Partnership can I change the members involved?

Yes – Partners in a Partnership can be amended via the Racing Admin system. There is a charge for every Partner changed and, in the instance you are making many amendments, it may be more cost effective to set up a new Partnership.

These changes can be undertaken by any member of the Partnership, but Partners are unable to remove themselves. If a Partner no longer wishes to remain in a Partnership, they will need to ask another Partner to remove them.

Can I change the percentage share each partner owns of a horse?

Yes – this can be done via the Racing Admin system by any Partner in the Partnership or, in some instances, their agent.

As a Partner in a Partnership what am I financially responsible for?

You are jointly and severally liable for any sum due as a result of any engagement for a horse owned by the Partnership (e.g. stakes, entry handling fees, scratching and jockeys' fees).

What is the role of the Syndicators/Club managers?

The Syndicators/Club managers are the people who manage, administer or promote the Syndicate/Racing Club respectively. There has to be at least one Syndicator/Club manager per ownership.

The Syndicators/Club managers will be the people who have access to the Racing Admin system.

What is the Syndicate Code of Conduct?

The Syndicate Code of Conduct highlights a number of basic requirements that syndicators will need to ensure are met.

The requirements stipulated by the Code include the provision of a syndicate agreement in which details relating to the duration and costs of the syndicate are all outlined along with how decisions should be made and when financial statements will be circulated.

To find out more, including whether or not you are required to comply, the full Syndicate Code of Conduct can be found here along with a detailed FAQs Document .

Can I change the syndicators who manage my syndicate?

Yes – this can be done via the Racing Admin system. This change can be carried out by existing Syndicators and there is no charge attached. It should be noted that Syndicators cannot remove themselves from the Syndicate. Instead they would need another Syndicator to make that change.

You cannot have less than one Syndicator at any time.

As a Syndicator/Club Manager what am I financially responsible for?

Syndicators and Club Managers are jointly and severally liable for any sums due under the Rules of Racing for Syndicates and Racing Clubs respectively. Under the Rules of Racing they are subject to all liabilities and duties of the ownership.

Syndicators and Club Managers who resign from their role will remain liable for any debts that were accrued during their tenure. Any debts that become due after they resigned are not their responsibility.

How do I update the members of my Syndicate?

It is important to update your list of Syndicate members whenever it changes and this can be done via the Racing Admin system by any Syndicator.

Can I change the Club Managers who manage my Racing Club?

Yes – this can be done via the Racing Admin system. This change can be carried out by existing Club Managers and there is no charge attached to making this change. It should be noted that Club Managers cannot remove themselves from the Racing Club. Instead they would need another Club Manager to make that change.

I am a Syndicator/Club Manager, but my secretary does the admin for the Syndicate/Club. Can my secretary get access to the Racing Admin System?

Yes – to allow someone else access to the Racing Admin system you will simply need to appoint them as an agent to work on your behalf. This can be done by you completing an AA4 (an owner agent) form via the Racing Admin system.

Can I change the name of my ownership?

Yes – Partnerships can change their name via the Racing Admin system, whereas Syndicates, Racing Clubs, Companies and Sole Owners will need to contact the Ownership Desk at Weatherbys (01933 440077).

How do I know how much my race is worth?

The total prize fund (TPF) for each race is detailed in the race conditions which can be accessed via the Racing Admin system. The TPF is the total amount of prize money available for all places and connections in the race.

How much will I receive if my horse is placed?

The amount owners receive when their horse is placed depends on where the horse finishes, how many prizes are being paid, the class of the race and whether it is Flat or Jump.

Irrespective of the number of prizes on offer in a given Flat or Jumps race, the share of the TPF received by the owners, trainers, jockeys and stables remains the same. On the Flat, owners will receive 80% of the TPF, while over Jumps they receive 78.25% (the variation is owing to the increased risk, with Jump jockeys receiving 1.75% more than their Flat counterparts at the expense of owners).

Flat (%TPF)Jump (%TPF)
Owners8078.25
Trainers7.857.85
Jockeys5.777.52
Stable4.754.75
Industry Causes1.631.63

The distribution of prize money among placed horses differs with both code and class. The full distribution of prize money can be found here

When will it be paid?

Prize money is paid directly into your racing account 15 days after the race. This is to give time for any post-race samples to be analysed to ensure there has been no breach of the Rules.

Other than prize money is there any other income I will receive? Do owners get paid for running their horses?

In addition to sponsorship income, many races are also covered by an appearance money scheme. Details of the types of races which may be covered can be found here.

Do owners receive bonuses on top of prize money?

A number of bonus schemes are in operation. These tend to offer an incentive in specific races adding money to the amount the winner receives. The ROA has a dedicated page here detailing how each of the different schemes operate.

What fees can I expect to pay to a trainer to train my horse?

The daily fee charged by trainers can vary greatly and can cover different things from trainer to trainer. Some may charge you based on their costs incurred while other may charge a rate that is more inclusive covering items like all veterinary treatment, feed, dentist, shoeing, gallop fees, jockey retainers etc.

You can also expect to pay racing costs such as transport and expenses for your horse and staff to and from the racecourse.

Given how costs can vary, it is vital that you sign a training agreement with your trainer. This agreement will set out fees, expenses and any additional costs (including commission) and requirements that are necessary. More information on what the agreement should cover can be found here .

Do I need to pay to enter my horses into races?

Yes – in order to race your horse you will need to enter it into races for which there is an entry fee payable. Entry fees often vary depending on the Total Prize Fund (TPF) of the race (the more valuable the race the more the entry fee costs). In addition to the entry fee you will also be required to pay an entry handling fee. The cost of the fee depends on how the entry is made with a higher fee payable if the entry is made over the phone as opposed to online.

Full details on how much entry fees cost can be found in the race conditions.

For each entry made you will also pay an additional £1.20 to the Equine Infectious Diseases Services of the Animal Health Trust and £1.00 towards the welfare of former racehorses.

Do I need to pay to declare my horse in a race?

No - once you have paid to enter your horse there is no fee to declare your horse to run. If you’re horse is eliminated, however, your entry fee will be refunded. The only exception to this rule would be in sales races and you are advised to read the race conditions carefully before entering your horse.

How much do I pay a jockey to ride my horse?

The riding fee for jockeys is set depending on code and the fees can be found here

You will also pay an additional sum (13% of the riding fee) to the Professional Riders Insurance Scheme.

Any jockey who has been declared to ride a horse but whose horse is subsequently made a non-runner after 9.00 am on the day of the race will receive 40% of their riding fee.

Is there any way I can find information on potential races for my horse?

The new Racing Admin system will provide free and easy access to the race programme which will allow you to search for future races for your horse.

How do I arrange my owners’ badges for when I go racing with a runner?

When you have a runner you can arrange your badges before getting to the racecourse via the RCA’s Privileged Access Swipe System (PASS). Owners cangain access to the PASS concierge here where they will be able to arrange and allocate owners’ badges. New owners can log in using the number printed on the front of their PASS card which is automatically sent out to them following registration as an owner.

What can I expect from racecourses when I have a runner?

Different racecourses have varying offerings for owners when they have a runner. What you can expect to receive will normally be outlined in an entry letter/email, but if you have any questions in relation to what is available you should contact the course directly for clarification. Alternatively you can visit the ROA’s Owners Guide to Racecourses .

What do I need to do once I have decided that I want to retire my racehorse?

When you decide to retire your horse, if you sell or find a new home for it, you should sign a non-racing agreement with the horse’s new owner. The non-racing agreement form can be found on the Racing Admin system and when this has been completed this prevents further race entries from being taken for that animal.

Alternatively, you can also retire a horse under the anti-doping rules – you would need to notify the BHA that the horse is to be retired from racing under Rules by emailing anti-doping@britishhorseracing.com with the horse’s details and the date from which it is to be retired (this cannot be post-dated). This can only be done by an owner, not a trainer, and a horse that has gone through this process of retirement can be returned to racing by any new registered owner.

You should also ensure that you terminate any outstanding registrations linked to the horse (such as any relevant authority to act).

What should I consider if I’m selling my horse?

Before selling your horse, you should be satisfied that the buyer is a responsible person. This might include asking for references and ensuring they have the correct insurance in place. For more advice you can always speak to Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) (01488 648 998).

It is a requirement under the Horse Passport (England) Regulations to register a change of ownership with the relevant Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) within 30 days of acquiring a horse. A non-racing, non-breeding ownership will be required for all horses that have been retired from racing. To download the change of ownership form from Weatherbys please click here. When this process is complete, the passport will need to be handed over to the new owner of the horse.

What options are there for my horse after racing?

In the instance that you are not intending to breed from your horse, or are unable to keep your horse at home, the responsibility lies with you to ensure that they find a suitable home after concluding their racing career. Information on how to safeguard your horse’s future can be found here on the RoR website.

It is advised that you talk to your trainer about the next option for your retired horse as they may be able to guide you as to what the horse is capable of doing. It is suggested that you discuss:

  • Does my horse have the right temperament to be retrained for another career?
  • Is my horse physically sound?

Your trainer might suggest that the horse can be retrained and could help set you up with a retraining centre or local riders. In addition you canalways speak to Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) (01488 648 998) for further advice.

In addition, there are also rehabilitation centres ( Greatwood , HEROS , Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre and the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre ) where owners can re-home their horses. For more information please contact RoR.