1. There are two types of lease: a single race lease and a longer term version. A single race lease is quite adequate and assumed in what follows. The person (lessor) who leases the horse to you (lessee) will probably help you with the formalities but if in doubt please ring Charlie Moore on 07764 255500. Weatherbys is Horse Racing’s secretariat for all registrations, entries and declarations. They are extremely helpful and will accept all correspondence by fax. Their telephone number is 01933 440077 and fax number 01933 440807. The paragraphs below give an outline of what is needed.
2. Form an ‘Ownership’. This can be yourself as an individual or any suitably named group. Gunner establishments, headquarters, regiments, batteries, troops, sections, messes and ad hoc clubs are all permissible but all members of a group must be past or present Gunners. For a single race lease you do not need to register as an owner.
3. Find a horse to lease. Owners and trainers of national hunt horses and point to pointers are good sources; the hunting field is good for contacts; potential runners at the Grand Military meeting, which occurs some 3 weeks after the RA Gold Cup, are usually keen to lease if not eligible themselves because it gives them experience at Sandown. Ring Charlie Lane (07990 562046) for Grand Military contacts.
4. Negotiate the terms of the lease. An example from personal experience: the lessor (real owner) continues to pay all training and transport costs including insurances but retains all prize money less entry fees. The lessee (you) pays the entry fees and recovers the costs from the lessor if prize money is won. The lessee keeps the owner’s trophies and has the honour of seeing the horse run in his, her or the group’s name.
5. Colours. You need a set of colours which have been registered with Weatherbys:
• For a single race lease you do not have to be a ‘Registered Owner’ or have your own registered colours and it is permissible to ‘borrow’ a set of registered colours – probably those of the lessor or a regimental set from the Kings Troop.
• If you do wish to run the horse in your own colours, you or the group must become Registered Owners and register colours. This is a simple formality. Fill in and dispatch the form provided by Weatherbys. The combined cost of registering as an owner and your colours is about £100. The form covers both. It takes 48 hours to process from receipt at Weatherbys.
6. Register the Single Race Lease. The form is available from Weatherbys. It is simple to complete and needs to be signed by both lessor and lessee – can be managed by inter-faxing. A single race lease costs about £154 (incl VAT @ 20%) and takes 24 hours to process. It can be submitted after close of entries which is 5 days before the race. You will be asked to make a deposit of £300 to cover this fee and entry fees but will have the outstanding balance returned.
7. Engage a Rider. You will need an eligible amateur rider (see race conditions) who holds a valid permit to ride. This person will probably have to be sufficiently able to satisfy the lessor. Ring Erica Bridge (07774 193532), Charlie Lane (07990 562046) or Peter Wright (0207 218 2461) if you or the lessor can’t find one. If you lease a potential Grand Military meeting runner it will probably also have an eligible rider so saving you the trouble. If you engage a serving Gunner rider you will receive a starter’s allowance of £400 if your horse runs.
8. Enter the horse with Weatherbys by Noon Sat 12 Feb 11. This costs £40 (no VAT) plus £30.85 (handling fee – incl VAT – and racing’s Charitable contributions to Animal Health Trust and retraining of Racehorses. The trainer or lessor will probably do this for you (but confirm with them!).
9. Declare the horse and rider with Weatherbys by 10 am Thurs 17 Feb 11. The trainer or lessor will probably do this for you.
10. Declare the horse on the day of the race at least 45 minutes before the race start time (at the desk in the weighing room). The trainer or lessor will probably do this for you. This is the time to hand over the colours to the rider if you haven’t done so already or she/he is providing them.
11. Bask in your new found status; attend the Race Committee reception in the Park View Suite in the Eclipse Pavilion bringing along your lessor, trainer, rider and their partners; appear in the paddock with the trainer, horse and rider; enjoy the day’s racing; lead in the winner and collect the trophy.