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'It's a positive way in which the sport can move forward and attract new fans'

Godolphin Flying Start student Marcus Bird shares his externship experiences

Marcus Bird: "The potential for micro-share syndication in the industry is huge."
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Our latest Flying Start blog comes from Marcus Bird. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Bristol in 2018. He has gained experience through spending 15 months as pupil assistant to Andrew Balding at Park House Stables as well as working at Glebe Farm Stud in the UK and Windsor Park Stud in New Zealand.

Having accumulated practical experience working in both the breeding and racing sides of the thoroughbred industry, he hopes to become a bloodstock agent and racing manager. 

The Godolphin Flying Start class of 2021-2023 have just finished their first externships, where we have spent five weeks in different parts of the USA gaining experience at different businesses in the industry.

There was a good range of diversity with externship hosts chosen such as Monty Roberts, the Stronach Group and WinStar Farm, as well as trainers such as Christophe Clement and Dan Blacker. As a group we were placed all over the country. I was lucky enough to do my externship with MyRacehorse in Lexington, and I found it fascinating.

Horseracing has always been seen as an elitist sport, and when top horses often cost well in excess of $100,000 it does seem to be out of reach for the everyday fan. This is where MyRacehorse steps in.

It is the brainchild of Michael Behrens, who wanted to
find a way of allowing fans to experience the joys of being an owner of an elite thoroughbred, but not put them out of pocket. The answer was micro-shares.

This means that for a one-off, low cost payment of $100 or less, people could buy equity in horses racing at the top level. The late B. Wayne Hughes was a big supporter of MyRacehorse as they expanded across the United States, allowing a fruitful partnership between Spendthrift Farm and MyRacehorse.

The crowning glory of this partnership was in 2020, when Authentic won the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic, giving Spendthrift Farm and his 5,314 MyRacehorse partners the feeling everyone craves in the thoroughbred industry: their horse becoming a champion.

Authentic: Breeders' Cup Classic winner was owned by 5,314 members of MyRacehorse

These lucky owners have also been kept in the game through his transition to standing for $70,000 at stud, where they still own the equity they had in him as a racehorse.

It is MyRacehorse’s belief that, by giving more people the experience of owning elite racehorses, the more the sport will grow, and with more than 100,000 customers owning equity in one or multiple racehorses it certainly looks as though this is a very positive way in which the sport can move forward and attract new fans.

MyRacehorse has expanded globally, with offerings in Australia starting in 2021, and in the early part of 2022 they began business in the UK and Ireland, offering horses with trainers Andrew Balding, John Gosden and Joseph O’Brien, as well as buying into Michael O’Callaghan’s Mehmar, who became their first Royal Ascot runner.

The potential for micro-share syndication in the industry is huge, allowing fans to dip their toes into the waters of thoroughbred ownership for a fraction of the usual cost. It could be the way forward for the industry.

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When top horses often cost well in excess of $100,000, it does seem to be out of reach for the everyday fan
E.W. Terms