Phone: 03 9372 6547 Fax: 03 9372 6549 Email:

Ownership Overview

Ask anyone who has owned a successful racehorse and they will tell you that the excitement and thrill is unbelievable. There is so much buzz surrounding a good racehorse that the owners become famous, everyone that they know wants to call them up to find out how the horse is going and will it win next week?

Being an owner of a racehorse can give you a rollercoaster ride of emotions. You can live through many lows in a preparation, if the horse is injured or a good thing beaten. However, they only make the highs of winning much higher.

Purchasing a Horse

The Kavanagh Racing buying team purchase racing stock at major yearling sales around Australia and New Zealand. The main buying time is between early January and Easter time every year. When the horses are purchased out of the sale they are one year old by the racing season (which runs from 1st August – 31st July). As of the first of August that year, all horses are recognised be as two year olds.
Mark and The Kavanagh Team purchase horses in a number of ways:
  1. On behalf of clients – Mark can help advise clients on purchasing race horses or find a horse to purchase on behalf of a client. Some owners may be wishing to find a nice sprinting Colt or a middle distance filly that may make a nice breeding proposition after her racing career.
  2. A group of friends may want to purchase a horse in a partnership and they employ Mark to act on their behalf and purchase a horse to a specific budget.
  3. Mark also purchases horses that he really likes. They have to pass strict criteria as well as sell for a price below our expectation. If a horse passes all of our criteria and goes for less than we expect it to fetch, then he has found some real value. These horses are mostly purchased without specific people in mind, where Mark looks for partners to race the horse later.

As Mark purchases many horses without having an owner in mind (point 3 above), this allows potential owners many options to get involved with the stable. They are able to contact the office direct and purchase all of a horse or race in a partnership.

Ongoing training costs are invoiced out on a monthly basis. Costs will vary from month to month depending on whether your horse is in full training, pre-training or spelling in the paddock. On average over the course of a year a horse will cost approximately $3500 per month. Respectively if you own a share of a horse then you only pay that percentage of the monthly fee.

Successful in the Sales Ring and on the Track

Each year Mark purchases many types of horses for many different budgets. Below are some of the horses that he has purchased out of the auction ring, you can view their winners in the stakes success section of the website:

DIVINE MADONNA – Purchased at Adelaide Magic Millions for $80,000 – Winning Stakes $2,013,390 then sold as a broodmare for in excess of $2 million

MALDIVIAN – Purchased in at Inglis Sydney Easter Sale for $195,000 – Wining Stakes $2,820,000

UNDOUBTEDLY – Purchased at Adelaide Magic Millions for $190,000.00 – Winning Stakes $765,000 then sold as a stallion.

CATAPULTED – Purchased for $90,000 – Winning Stakes $787,000

WERE GONNA ROCK – Purchased at Sydney Easter sales for $180,000 – Earning over $597,000 in prizemoney

WEEKEND SPECIAL – Purchased at Sydney Classic for $25,000 – Earning over $125,000 for the stable

Educational Process

Purchasing a young racehorse can be very exciting as they are full of potential and promise. Everyone cannot wait for them to hit the track and start racing. However before a horse gets to the races, they have to mature and be educated.
The horses purchased from the yearling sales are normally broken in as a yearling. This means that they are educated to accept bridle, saddle and rider. After around 4 to 6 weeks of breaking in, the horses go to the stable for a few weeks education. Here they generally learn the ropes of a big stable. They work with other horses, gallop on the track and may also go through the barriers. After this the horse is turned out to the paddock where they can continue to grow and further mature.

Depending on the breed of the horse as well as the mental and physical maturity, a horse may be trained for a 2YO campaign. Usually a well advanced (or what we call an early running type) may make a 2YO. These horses pick up their education really fast and can take lots of work as a young horse to become fit enough to race early. Even still, they may not race until the beginning of the following year from purchase. This type of horse may be set for such races as the Magic Millions, Karaka Millions, Blue Diamond or Golden Slipper.

If the horse is not that advanced or is generally purchased as a long distance staying type of horse, it may take longer to get to the track. Horses that are not early runners can become shin sore in one or more preparations. Shin soreness is the horses body changing as bones and muscles are still growing and developing. Owners of these horses have to be patient, however the rewards can be far greater. Many a staying horse who is looked after and not pushed as a young horse can go on to have a long racing career. This type of horse will most likely run over long distances which are where there is some large prize money available, mainly in Cups races. Sometimes owners may have to wait until the horse is a 3YO or 4YO before they get to the races.

Horse in Training

Once a horse is brought into full work it trains for around 12 weeks before it is ready to go to the jump outs, trials or races. The fitness regime starts with slow work - trotting and cantering. The work load is slowly built up to three quarter pace and then to even time, which is the pace achieved by a horse running 15 seconds to the furlong (around 200m). As they get to the business end of their preparation the horses work is stepped up again to include gallops.

When a horse is in full work owners receive a weekly update by email or fax.

A horse needs to be named before it can trial or race. In the case of a syndicated horse owners are invited to submit a name for the horse and several are submitted to the registrar of racehorses for consideration. (names are subject to availability and can be checked at this site).

When a horse is ready to race he is entered or nominated for a race usually five days prior to the event. For instance if a horse is scheduled to race on Saturday they are entered on the Monday. Weights assigned to the horses usually come out the day following the horses nomination. Acceptances for the race are usually two days prior to the event. In the case of a horse racing on a Saturday acceptances are on Thursday. At acceptances the time of the race is set, the barriers are drawn and jockeys are declared. Noms, weights and acceptances can be viewed at this site.

Owners who go to the track to watch their horse race can organise mounting yard ticketing for their race (by visiting the secretaries office of the race club) and usually receive complimentary members ticketing from participating clubs. Owners who race a horse in Victoria are eligible for an Owners Gold card which can be applied for at this site.