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Investing in a race horse is now easier than ever

By Andrew Adermann

The Melbourne Cup is the race that stops a nation for good reason.

Whether you’re an avid fan – or a once-a-year punter who enters the office sweep – the Melbourne Cup has helped shape our national identity with some of Australia’s most memorable moments.

Who could forget Damien Oliver’s emotion-charged win on Media Puzzle in 2002; Makybe Diva’s unprecedented three-peat; and Michelle Payne’s triumph aboard Prince of Penzance that inspired the movie, Ride Like a Girl?

In recent times, the likes of Winx and Black Caviar transcended an industry and did what many thought was no longer possible.

Black Caviar went unbeaten in her 25-start career including 15 Group 1s, and Winx went a step further notching up a world record 33 consecutive wins.

And in the process, these equine heroes not only captured the attention of the nation, they got people pondering whether they too could own a small piece of a future legend.

There’s always been a perception that owning a racehorse is exclusive to the upper-class citizens, and too expensive for your everyday punter – well it’s not.

The racing industry is inclusive of all walks of life, and there are countless success stories that highlight the fact that it doesn’t matter what an animal costs, sometimes all you need is a bit of luck.

What makes ownership in Australia so exciting is that champions can come from anywhere and everywhere.

Takeover Target was purchased for $1,250 by Queanbeyan taxi driver Joe Janiak in 2003, and went on to earn more than $6 million in prize money, including wins in eight Group 1 races.

More recently, the four-year-old Tasmanian mare, Mystic Journey, was an $11,000 purchase and has already earned more than $3 million in her short career, including the inaugural All-Star Mile.

Owning a stake in an animal is more affordable than ever, with organisations like MiRunners making ownership accessible through the purchase of a horse and splitting the cost into 1,000 units.

The face of MiRunners in Dusty Tycoon cost buyers a mere $176 per unit, and in January she ran in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic after scoring two wins in her first two starts.

Even if your horse isn't a Group 1 winner, owners will tell you that it makes no difference - it's all about the journey.

Anthony Lanskey is the Principal at Gympie State High School who owns a small share 2019 Melbourne Cup winner Vow and Declare, and his story serves as inspiration for prospective owners.Vow-and-Declare.JPG

Vow and Declare was unsold at the 2016 Inglis Sale after not meeting his reserve price of $60,000, a relatively small sum for a thoroughbred.

Anthony’s uncle, who owns Vow and Declare’s dam, Geblitzt, contacted his nephew after the Inglis Sale to ask if he and a few other mates were keen to purchase the yearling.

“At the same time, my youngest son turned 21 and my eldest graduated from uni so I thought that might be a nice present for the two of them so I gave them a share as well,” Anthony Lanskey said.

“Between my uncle, two of my best mates and my two sons, we were able to get a nice share in Vow and Declare.”

Anthony had always been interested in horse ownership, but states that he never really had the opportunity to be involved, so when this chance came along he jumped straight in without a second thought.

“You obviously have to be very patient, because if you’re in it just for the overnight success then that probably isn’t going to happen,” Lanskey continued.

“We got very, very lucky but it is a patient game.”

Vow and Declare’s first run came at Cranbourne in August 2018, running a modest eighth place, before breaking through for his maiden win three starts later at Warrnambool over 2381 metres.

Three weeks later, he was running down the famous straight at Flemington, scoring his first listed win in the TCL TV Stakes on Kennedy Oaks Day.

“His first few runs we just had to watch up in Gympie, and do it on our phones,” Lanskey recalls.

“One run I had to book out a five-minute meeting in my schedule between appointments with parents and kids so I could watch him on my phone.”

The rising star made his way up to Brisbane in the winter of 2019, where he announced himself as one of the leading stayers in the country, running second in the Group 1 Queensland Derby before going on to win the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup.

Eagle Farm

LAZY YAK TATTERSALL'S CUP 3000m

For the Lanskey clan, seeing their pride and joy make a visit to their home state was a thrill in itself.

“Because it’s a family thing, we ultimately love to watch him all together and because we love all of the races we make a really nice day of it with friends and family,” Lanskey said.

Vow and Declare headed back south in preparation for Melbourne’s spring carnival, running an eye-catching fourth in the Turnbull Stakes before an incredibly strong second placing in the world-renowned Caulfield Cup.

It was at that point that the family truly started to believe that the crowning jewel of Australian racing, the Melbourne Cup, was within reach.

That dream became a reality three weeks later, where Craig Williams steered home the four-year-old to perfection, holding off a group of fast finishers to win by the smallest of margins.

It goes without saying that Anthony singles out that triumph as the highlight of his ownership tenure.

“I couldn’t sleep much the night before, there is just no adrenaline buzz like it and it’s just nice to be able to experience that with family and friends,” he said.

“On the Monday we walked in the Cup Parade as we thought we may never get back here again and as owners we were allowed to take part with Danny (O’Brien) and (jockey) Craig Williams.

“We still sit back today and you just cannot believe that this has actually happened, and it’s lovely to be able to share it with those dearest to us.”

Anthony said he underestimated the impact of what winning the Melbourne Cup meant to those around him.

Race caller Matthew Hill famously proclaimed that Vow and Declare has won it for Australia but Lanskey will tell you that he won it for Gympie, and Queensland.

“I just cannot believe how embraced it has been by the city of Gympie and the state as a whole,” he said.

“We are trying to get the Cup up here now for the Gympie race meeting and bring it to school to show the kids on parade.

“It’s really good for Australian racing that a bunch of locals have been able to win the Cup.

“We’re not buying them from overseas, we don’t have money coming out of our ears – we are just a group of friends who love racing and wanted to be involved.”

What does Anthony love most about being an owner? His answer was simple.

“I just love the horse,” he said.

“The care that is put into these horses across the industry is why I think so many people are involved – they love the animal.

“My Christmas present last year was a trip to Melbourne to go and see him as I’d never seen him in the flesh before.

Anthony was full of praise for trainer Danny O’Brien, crediting the communication to his owners as top notch and a key part of what makes ownership such a unique experience.

“Even as a yearling, we were getting weekly video updates, the access you get as an owner is so insightful and unprecedented,” he said.

“It really makes you feel like you’re a key part in how the operation runs, and when we are there on race day, we get to go to the mounting yard and hear Danny briefing the jockey and the behind-the-scenes planning that go into a race. 

“It’s just great fun, and even though we only have a small percentage in him, we get 100% of the fun.

“He is a really lovely animal, and yes the thrill and excitement is a big part of it but you’re not going to have any of that without the horse.”

When asked what advice he would have for a prospective owner, his answer was simple; just have a go.

“You don’t have to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to be a part of it,” Lanskey said.

“Trainers at the moment are very clever in providing a product for all kinds of owners and I would highly recommend anyone getting involved.

“Even if it’s just a group of mates getting together and getting a small share.

“They’re not all going to be successful but you can still enjoy the thrill of the ride and the day at the races when they are out there competing.”

 

If you are interested in ownership, Racing Queensland is here to help kick-start your journey with plenty of helpful resources online for you to explore. Find out more here