Ready to race? Ready to register!
With your trainer appointed and your horse in training you are on course for the track! Depending on the rate of progress, it may be time to register with Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), the authority responsible for the administration of horse racing in Ireland. New owners are registered within two working days of receipt of their completed application - provided the application is in order - club and company registrations may take up to four weeks to finalise.
What owner format suits you?
Firstly, you need to establish what type of ownership best suits you. This often depends on how you wish to appear on the racecard. For example, if it is simply an individual’s name, then sole ownership is the way to go. If there are a couple of people involved, a partnership may be more suitable, as either the individual’s names or a “partnership” name can be used and so on depending on the ownership situation of your horse.
There are five owner formats on offer to new owners, dependent on the number of people involved in owning your horse.
Five to twenty members, one of whom must be a registered owner and act as the agent for the syndicate;
The agent should be nominated by the syndicate members;
All correspondence with HRI must be carried out by the agent;
The owner may appear on the racecard in either the agent or syndicate name;
Syndicate leases can only be registered for named horses;
The syndicate name must be approved by HRI. Provisional name checks can be carried out by contacting the Registrations Department of HRI;
A syndicate can have multiple horses but the members must remain the same in all horses;
A syndicate registration form must be completed and signed by all members for each horse owned by the syndicate;
A limited number of changes to the membership of a syndicate will be accommodated at the discretion of HRI. All such amendments must be made in writing on the official form;
Syndicate members should give valid contact details when completing the Syndicate Registration Form to avail of exclusive offers, discounts and invites throughout the year;
HRI strongly recommends that a set of rules or syndicate agreement is drawn up to ensure the smooth running of your syndicate and to minimise the risk of a dispute;
More syndicate information
1. Name and registration of syndicate
The name will be that chosen by the members and accepted by the registrations section of the racing department. There is a limit of 30 characters in a syndicate name and numerals are not accepted.
- What is the agreed membership number?
- Is membership fixed at a specific number of shares or can shares be further sub-divided.
- Is there a criteria for membership – such criteria should be specified.
- Can shares within the syndicate be transferred? – how can such a transfer be effected?
3. Registered agent
- HRI require that each syndicate have a registered agent. This agent is responsible for associated paperwork and has exclusive access to syndicate account information. Who is suitable to act as agent?
- How is the agent elected/appointed? Can they be removed?
- Functions of the agent – this role must be defined – although they must deal exclusively with HRI, does that apply to the trainer, banks, etc.
- How are meetings convened? Does the agent convene a meeting and what notice period is required?
4. Making decisions
This is an area that requires particular attention and should be very clearly defined in order to avoid disputes.
Points to consider are –
- Are all decisions by way of a majority vote? If not, what form of voting is applicable.
- Does each shareholder have one vote?
- In certain cases, should decisions be made on a two third majority vote?
- Does the syndicate require a treasurer in addition to the agent?
- How much does each member pay? It is recommended that a bulk payment be made upfront if possible.
- Mode of payment – weekly, monthly, in advance, in arrears?
- Signatories of the bank and HRI accounts.
- Publishing of the account – a monthly statement will be issued from the accounts department of HRI.
- Are all members entitled to view accounts.
- Provision for once off payments.
6. Non payment of accounts
This is an area which should be considered carefully by all members when forming a Syndicate Agreement and again, very specific provisions should be made in dealing with members who either fail to pay membership fees or are deemed to be in arrears.
Suggested provisions in this regard may include –
- Specific date for payment of member’s fees.
- In cases of late or non-payment, notice to be given by Agent/Treasurer.
- Such notice to be written or telecommunicated?
- Agent/Treasurer to have discretion with regard to second warning?
- Expulsion of non-paying members?
- Should the expulsion depend on majority vote, secret ballot, etc.?
7. Transfer of interest
- How can members transfer or sell shares?
- Are such shares then sub-divided or are they offered externally?
- Are members excluded from offering shares to third parties?
- Do all benefits/liabilities transfer with each share sold?
- Does a new member have to be elected in by existing members?
8. Resignation of member
There should be a departure clause for each member who may wish to retire from the syndicate.
- Notice to be given by retiring member to the agent?
- Such notice in writing/telecommunication?
- All accounts of retiring member to be cleared in advance of acceptance of Notice of Resignation. Does the retiring member forfeit any outlays thus far or should they receive their initial investment?
Obviously each syndicate agreement should contain a Deadlock clause such as that in the Associated Specimen Agreement – consider carefully whether the designated representative should have a casting vote.
10. Removal of syndicate member
- Grounds for removal.
- Notice to offending member.
- Removal by majority vote / two thirds vote.
11. Dissolution of syndicate
- Grounds for Dissolution of Syndicate – end of lease agreement/end of horse racing career?
- Syndicate to exist for a fixed period only.
- Discharge of all accounts and dissolution of syndicate.
- Liability of each member and dissolution of syndicate.
- Provision of accounts as at date of dissolution of syndicate.
12. Sale of horse
- Circumstances in which horse may be sold.
- By public auction/private treaty?
- Minimum reserve.
- Entitlement of members to purchase.
13. How to set up your syndicate:
All interested members should meet to decide on the following –
- Who is going to act as the agent for the syndicate?
- What is the syndicate name?
- Confirm details of the trainer to all.
- What are the syndicate bank details and how much will the standing order be each month?
- What racing colours would you like to apply for?
- What are the syndicate rules and who should draw up the written agreement?
To register a racing syndicate, the agent must complete the owner registration form and syndicate registration form must be signed by all members and returned to HRI with a minimum opening balance of €500 per horse.
A horse owned under this format will run in the individual’s colours and name. Each sole owner must have their own individual set of racing colours registered. A HRI account will be opened in the registered owner’s name.
To register as a sole owner, please complete the owner registration form and return it to HRI with the minimum opening balance of €500 per horse.
Two to four registered owners may form a racing partnership. The horse runs in the colours of the first named partner. Please note a partnership can be registered for named horses only. Partnerships are subject to an annual renewal fee unless cancelled in writing by all partners.
For publication purposes a partnership owned horse can run under one of the following formats:
- The first named partner (this name must appear on the racecard except where the horse runs in a collective name), or
- collective partnership name, eg. The Kildare Partnership or
- A combination of all or some of the partners involved.
When registering a partnership there are two accounting options available:
- All debits and credits will be processed in proportion to a partner’s shareholding as indicated on the Partnership Form. In this case, please forward written instruction with the application instructing the distribution of accompanying funds.
- All debits and credits may be processed through the account of the first named partner by ticking the appropriate box on the Partnership Form. In this case, please forward one collective opening balance with written instruction that all registration costs are to be deducted from this sum.
How to set up a partnership –
- The first named partner should complete an Owner Registration Form. Further partners should complete an Owner Registration Form and everyone involved should sign the Partnership Registration Form.
- Remember, only the first named partner need apply for racing colours and Authority to Act and for this reason they will need to lodge at least €500 to their HRI account.
- The additional partners, depending on share proportion should lodge at least €300 each. If you choose to lodge one collective amount please specify, in writing, how you wish the funds to be distributed among the accounts.
- If all costs are to be charged to the first named partner, then partners 2, 3 or 4 need only lodge €80 each.
- Racing clubs like syndicates are an ideal introduction to racehorse ownership.
- There is no limit to the number of members but a minimum of two and maximum of four trustees must be registered as owners with HRI to carry out the administration responsibilities of the Club.
- A HRI account will be opened in the name of the racing club.
- The Club name will appear as the owner on the racecard.
- Each trustee should register as owner, but only one will need to apply for racing colours and complete the Authority to Act.
- €1,350 must be lodged.
In addition, please submit the following:
- Copy of Rules and Constitution of the Club. These should include a dissolution clause stating that, should the club be disbanded, all HRI fees will be paid off as a priority.
- List of club members with their addresses, which must be complete and up-to-date.
- An undertaking in writing to supply the Registry Office with a list of all new members after registration.
- Name and address of club bankers and solicitors.
- Name of trustees of the Club.
- Date of foundation of the Club.
- Details of present officers, ie. secretary, treasurer, etc.
- A company can register as an owner, subject to approval by HRI.
- The company name will appear as the owner on the racecard and HRI account.
- A registered agent, usually a company director or secretary, must be appointed to carry out administrative duties with HRI, on behalf of the company.
- The nominated agent must become a registered owner with HRI.
- The company registration fee of €550 is additional to the minimum opening balance of €1,000.
- A company may take up to 4 weeks to register.
- They must be registered with the Companies Registrar Office.
In addition to the owner registration form the following documentation must be submitted when applying to register:
- Copy of Certificate of Incorporation.
- Copy of Memorandum and Articles of Association.
- Details of shareholders and directors of the company, including addresses. In the case of a public limited company, shareholders names and addresses are not required.
- Copy of Minute certifying appointment of a registered agent. This must be issued under seal and the Registered Agent should be a representative of the company, ie. company secretary or company director. A recognised Company shall only be entitled to exercise the powers of an owner through its Registered Agent.
- Copy of the latest Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account.
- Letter to guarantee that annual accounts will be supplied when requested.
- A1/B1 form, available from the company registrar.
Regardless of what format you choose every owner, trainer and jockey must open a HRI account. To open this account, please return the appropriate registration forms with the minimum opening balance of €500 to HRI. All cheques and drafts should be made payable to HRI. If you choose to email or fax your applications, please give clear instruction as to how you wish to make the initial payment. We can accept credit card payments by phone. An initial deduction from the opening balance will be made for registration fees (colours, owner registration, partnership fee, etc.) and then the balance will remain in the account to cover entry and riding expenses. You will receive an itemised statement each month. Your HRI account can be “topped up” with case, cheque/draft or by credit/debit card. Please retain the account number for your convenience.
The account holder has sole access to this account unless authority is given in section 7 if the owner registration form.
Expenses or winnings relating to a race will not be processed until the day after the race (or the following Monday in the case of Saturday fixtures). However, winnings will not become available until 16 days after the race. This holding is to facilitate the drug testing policy applied to every winner of every race in Ireland.
Prizemoney won by an Irish trained horse abroad is processed through that countries racing authority and then automatically lodged into the owner’s HRI account. This process may take up to 6 weeks incorporating the 16 day holding period in the UK. Winnings are not taxable assuming that being a racehorse owner is not the individual’s principle business. However, HRI recommend that each owner consult their own financial advisor in this regard as each individuals situation can differ.
To withdraw all or a fraction of these winnings, simply contact the HRI client accounts department on +353 45 455444.
The HRI Client Accounts online system is available at www.hri.ie/login. This free online service allows registered owners who have signed up to the system to:
- Check their account balance
- View & Print Statements
- Make transfers and credit their account using credit or debit cards.
- View Registrations, Pending Engagements, Racing Colours, Authority to Acts etc.
The system is now compatible with all smart phones and iPhones making it even easier to access the system.
New owners are registered within two working days provided that HRI have received the opening balance and necessary documentation, in order.
As part of a government directive, all owners must submit bank details with their applications. In the case of syndicates and partnerships this only applies to the agent and accounting partners respectively. HRI do not have access to this account, it is purely to facilitate the transfer of funds out of your HRI account and INTO your nominated bank account.
Choosing a name for your horse can be great fun, and is one of the greatest pleasures in racehorse ownership, with owners often selecting names from the horse’s pedigree or by some personal association to a place or person.
Thoroughbred horses’ names, for racing purposes, are registered through HRI with Weatherbys, who are responsible for maintaining the General Stud Book. Once you have selected possible names, it is advisable to check with the HRI registrations department for availability.
The following criteria should be followed when selecting a name –
- The name must consist of no more than 18 characters, including spaces.
- The name must not be insulting, obscene or liable to cause confusion or be unacceptably close to one already registered.
- The name of any public person can only be used with their written permission and product or company names can also only be used with the written permission from the company (this goes for film and song names too).
- Names of winners of certain races around the world are protected and therefore cannot be used again. Names of other horses are protected for re-use for limited periods of time, while those who go to stud are protected for longer than those who do not.
- You need to be aware that you cannot change a horse’s name once that horse has raced.
- It is essential that your trainer inspects the horse and compares the animal to the markings given in the passport to confirm its identity. Any changes in horses markings will require a full set of new markings to be taken by a vet on the reverse side of the naming form. Please ensure that this procedure is carried out, as any doubt in the identification of the horse may lead to a blood type request, which will delay the naming process.
All naming applications must be made on the official naming form. These forms are available from your trainer or alternatively please contact ITM.
Please ensure that every care is taken when completing the name form as rectifications of any spelling errors can be a complicated and expensive process.
Names can be reserved directly with Weatherbys UK by contacting their help desk on +44 1933 440077. There is a fee for this service.
The naming process can take up to ten days to complete. Applications must be processed through HRI, Weatherbys UK and also cleared by the UK Jockey Club.
Naming forms must be received by the registrations department of HRI by close of business on a Thursday afternoon. Provided the application is in order the official name will be confirmed by Wednesday of the following week. The name will then be published in the Irish Racing Calendar and the horse will be qualified to make entries the following Monday. The passport will be posted to the individual specified on the naming form on the Tuesday after the name has appeared in the calendar. Should you wish to collect the passport at HRI offices, please clearly mark this on the naming form.
The Naming Form is not available online and can be obtained directly from the Registrations Department of HRI by calling +353 45 455 424.
Selecting your racing colours is one of the most enjoyable aspects of becoming a racehorse owner. There are 18 basic colours to choose from and these can be used in conjunction with 27 jackets and 9 cap designs.
- Please contact the registrations department of HRI who will be happy to run an availability check on your preferred colours. Once the colours are officially registered, HRI will confirm the official description in writing.
- HRI do not make colours but we can provide contact details for suppliers. Alternatively, your trainer or local saddle should be able to organise this for you. Colours can be registered annually, for five years, for ten years of your life. Please note that colours will be automatically renewed unless cancelled in writing.
- If you do cancel your colours, they will become available for potential use by other registered owners. To register a set of colours you must become a registered owner.
- Colours cannot be reserved.
Download the colours application form
As of 1st January 2008, owners are permitted to advertise on their racing silks, subject to conditions and an annual licensing fee. For further information and to receive an application form please contact the Irish Turf Club on +353 45 445600 or visit www.turfclub.ie
More useful information