Owners and Trainers Badges are a hot topic within racing right now. The level of access offered to racehorse owners, syndicates and race clubs by racecourses has long been a contentious matter, but the focus has been heightened with the increase in numbers of micro-share syndicates.
The much sought after “Owners and Trainers Badges” give the holder access to more areas than standard entry; as well as preferential parking, the use of a private lounge and bar and often a free meal. Which of the benefits are seen to be the biggest attraction widely varies depending on the recipient. Some are pleased with free entry, some get irritable without a free food, some purely like to be able to join the trainer and jockey in the parade ring pre-race.
There are more sides to this debate than you will find on a Glorious Goodwood buffet, and in many ways everybody is right! I should have a biased angle as I run a racing club and a number of syndicates, but I tend to fall on the side of the racecourses, and the owners with larger shares.
Owners and Trainers Badges need to be seen as exclusive, and something that is special, something sought after. They cannot just become a trading tool for syndicates to flog a few more shares. If we end up where there are too many people on course with these badges, then the whole purpose of why they exist is lost.
Some of my clients will not thank me for taking this position, but I don’t think having 20 of our club members congregating in the Owners Bar is what anyone is looking for from a racehorse ownership experience. For the level of investment made to join a racing club or micro-owner syndicate, I feel that owners and trainers badges cannot be part of the benefits offered. Discounted entry, with the option to reserve a space in a restaurant or bar area would tick the boxes needed surely? The trainer would be able to speak with the attendees, and potentially the jockey could do the same?
Sole owners and smaller partnerships (smaller in number of members) are still essential to racing and we need to ensure they are aware of that at every opportunity. I fully support the thought that syndicates and micro-owners are the future of racing, but not without the current cornerstones of ownership.
We have clients who have bought a significant amount of shares in racehorses with us and I have always advocated for them to have the same level of experience as anyone who has their racehorses running in their own colours. It doesn’t make them “better ” than our racing club members, and without all of these people, little and large, there wouldn’t be any horses to race and create the sport that generates the betting revenue and drives the crowds to the courses, and eyes to their tv’s. Prize-money is not even close to being good enough, so benefits such as owners and trainers badges are key to their experience, and they shouldn’t be fighting for a seat in the owners bar.
Racing club members, micro-syndicate members and partnerships of 20 or more (who knows what the cut-off figure should be), are not the same as actual racehorse owners and while the racecourses need to find a way to work with them, a demand for additional Owners and Trainers badges risk diluting a valuable asset.
I do sympathise with those who want owners and trainers badges, and those who have to tell the unlucky ones that they can’t have one. But this should have been avoided with simple transparency up front, before the racing club member, or micro share holder actually spent any money.
There are racing clubs and syndicates with way more members than they will ever get badges for, yet they “guarantee” them to members. It is wrong, we are far from perfect but we work hard to ensure that anyone who joins us, knows where they stand with Owners and Trainers Badges.
To try and demonstrate this, below you can read how we allocate Owners and Trainers Badges to our share holders and members. We have a tried and tested process on how these badges will be allocated, it isn’t foolproof, but it works. There will always be meetings that are popular and meetings that are less so. Whether this is down to the track, the horse, the class of race or day of the week the demand is difficult to predict, but we always will try and accommodate as many folk as possible.
1. We do no accept any badges requests not made following the outlined process.
If you can email or WhatsApp, you can use the Members website/app and follow the process. Other messages get lost and folk miss out, so we just don’t accept them.
2. Once a horse is a confirmed runner (on completion of the decs) we will post an entry in “owners badges for racing” section on the app and members website.
If you wish to go racing, you should add your name in the comments and email me with mobile number and name and email addresses of those wishing to attend. Feel free to request 2, if we have enough we will sort them.
3. Once we have the confirmed allocation and list of names who wish to go.
We will allocate the Owners and Trainers Badges on the following basis. Actual share holders in the horse receive priority. And they are prioritised by size of share. Spares will then be allocated to Gold and Green members, and if there are more requests than badges, we hold a ballot.
4. The ballot.
Every name that is put forward will be entered in the ballot 4 times. Anyone who has attended any one of the previous 3 races loses a ballot entry for each race attended. This allows a greater opportunity for those who haven’t been but doesn’t exclude those who have attended on a cold Tuesday at Southwell. Anyone who requests 2 Owners and Trainers badges needs to be drawn twice to get both badges. Nobody will get more than 2 unless we have spares left after everyone wants them has been organised.
5. Unlucky in ballot
Once Covid is done, we will always try to secure discount admission tickets for members who still wish to go racing despite them being unable to attend as an owner. Wherever possible we will try and arrange for this group still to get a discussion with the trainer while on course. This tickets will need to be paid for and won’t be included on your membership benefits. (ie I won’t be treating you)
6. Special circumstances
It won’t surprise you to learn that with 350+ members, the law of averages dictates that birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and the like often fall on the days we have runners. Especially when the runner is at an nice track. It is impossible for us to factor that into our process while still maintaining a level of fairness.
7. Race Day prizes
Should we win a race, the prize will go to one of the attendees on the day and this will be nominated pre-race. Nobody will get a second nomination unless everyone attending has previously been nominated. Winner or otherwise won’t affect this.
8. Availability of Owners and Trainers Badges
This always varies from track to track, and mid week compared to weekends. What I can assure everyone, is that we expect to have a minimum of 100 runners every twelve months and once Covid is done that will be at least 800 badges available per year, plus over 1000 discounted tickets. Location and dates allowing, we are expecting to be able to get every member who wants to go racing, racing in one way or another.
The Gold and Green Crowd is a multi-horse racing club, and costs just £100 for the first twelve months of membership with nothing extra for a couple.
You can find more information, and join by clicking here