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Horses are often bought by trainers who then identify potential owners, while some horses are bought to order and a bloodstock agent may get involved to make the purchase.
Trainers can rely on one owner for most of their horses but this can be dangerous. There might be a disagreement over training fees or running plans and the owner can transfer the horses to another yard, but most relationships between owners and trainers are cordial and friendships develop.
Connections are responsible for horse welfare and covering costs.
There is an official championship for jockeys and trainers in jumps racing and on the flat. The owner’s title in both codes is unofficial and is based on the amount of prize money won. Bookmakers offer odds on the leading jockey and trainer but not owner.
The owner pays for the horse and pays the trainer their training fees. Trainers do have bad payers but they have to be diplomatic in collecting the money because an unhappy owner can take his horses to another stable. Some owner and trainer relationships go back many years and there are many established groups of connections. The most successful partnership in European Flat racing is between Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore. Over jumps Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci have a good record as partners and the connections of a horse.
It is expensive to buy and train a horse so some owners form syndicates to share the costs. The number of members in a syndicate might be high so they take it in turns to play the role of the owner.
Connections gather in the parade ring before the race and the winning owners and connections who have the placed horses are also allowed into this area.