The real value in bloodstock is in the high-class stallions who can be worth over GBP 100 million

Date: 03 Dec 2015

Bumblebee Design

Charles Staveley, partner at Mills & Reeve, also says he sees an increase in buyers from North America and Kazakhstan.

Is bloodstock a wise investment for UHNWIs?

I would question whether it is an investment at all. It is a passion that can be a good investment but is often an expensive hobby. If you are doing it yourself, you need to invest in premises as well as in bloodstock itself. You are also competing against some very well-established owners so it is very hard to enter this sector.

Who are the big horses buyers?

Historically Dubai and Ireland, but we’ve seen an increase in Qatari buyers. I have also seen more buyers from North America and Kazakhstan.

Why do the ultra-rich buy horses?

Because it is an exciting, addictive and hugely rewarding sport. If you have the best stallion, you can also make money out of it but it is certainly not the primary reason that makes UHNW clients invest in bloodstock.

How does this traditional industry embrace new technologies?

There are technological advances that allow owners to take better care of horses. Their accommodation, for example, can be like a five-star hotel. If they get injured, horses get a number of people looking after them and should they go to an equine hospital, they will benefit from sophisticated medical technology.

What are the most lucrative races?

The Breeders Cup and Dubai World Cup. The real value in bloodstock is in the high-class stallions who can be worth over £100 million. An example is Frankel, a horse racing superstar and the world’s best thoroughbred racehorse.

What are three most important things to know when buying top-end horses?

Get a good agent, know what you want, and cross your fingers for luck! 

What should UHNW clients be aware of?

Horses often don’t live up to their value, it is expensive to keep a horse in training and the prizemoney in the UK is poor.

What trends do you see in bloodstock market?

It is a very cyclical market and the globalisation of the world economy now means it is susceptible to downturns in those parts of the world where the top owners and breeders live. In addition prizemoney in the UK shows no real sign of increasing other than at the very top meetings, such as Royal Ascot and Champions Day, to encourage owner breeders.