A new racing club is seeking a dream start with two runners in the Randox Grand National on Saturday week.
RacehorseClub offers micro-shares to its members – with the aim of attracting a new audience to the industry – and as two of their three purchases are due to run at Aintree, they could exceed all expectations.
The Christian Williams-trained Potters Corner, winner of the Welsh National in 2019, and Balko Des Flos, a former winner of the Ryanair Chase, will be sporting the club’s distinctive multi-coloured silks.
RacehorseClub is the brainchild of Max Pimlott, who works for the International Racing Bureau and said: “The whole idea is to get more people involved in horseracing and give them a toe in the water of what racehorse ownership is all about.
“We wanted to focus on the quality of horses. Obviously there are lots of other good syndicates out there, but we wanted to take it to another level to give the opportunity to as many people as we can to be part of a top-class racehorse.
“The first three horses include a Welsh National winner, a Royal Ascot winner (The Lir Jet) and a Cheltenham Festival winner, and we’ll also be going to the Craven breeze-ups.
“Potters Corner costs £75 for 0.002 per cent share. We’ve bought a percentage of him from All Stars Racing, who have owned him from the start along with Jonathan Davies, who won the Six Nations with Wales.
“Only a small part of that fee is for the actual horse – the rest comprises the membership, a welcome pack which includes plenty of goodies, but also you get the whole experience of trainer videos etc.
“Looking forward, we envisage having huge hospitality tents at Cheltenham, for example, so our members get a day on us at Cheltenham – that’s the vision we have going forward.
“Also we want to give a bit back. We’re in partnerships with the Injured Jockeys’ Fund, Racing Welfare, Retraining of Racehorses and Racing For School.”
Balko Des Flos has been priced at £80 per share, while the Michael Bell-trained The Lir Jet, who ran at the Breeders’ Cup last year, is £84.
Williams is pleased with how the last couple of weeks have gone for Potters Corner, given he was forced to miss Cheltenham with an overreach.
“Nothing phases him. If he wasn’t quiet at home, we’d be worrying. He seems in good form and has been a great horse for the yard,” he said.
“He had a little knock, an overreach, which can be nasty sometimes, and there was a bit of bruising – that’s the reason he missed Cheltenham – and he obviously would have bumped into a prime Tiger Roll that day, so perhaps it wasn’t a bad thing. It’s only a short time to Aintree, so we’re trying to look at it as a positive.
“The horses are flying, the yard’s flying, Jack’s (Tudor) riding plenty of winners, so we’re confident going there.”
He added: “RacehorseClub is a brilliant idea – it’s great for racing fans and fans outside of racing to get involved at a small price in one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
“It makes everything affordable. It doesn’t matter what share you own, if you’re sat at home and you can cheer your horse on, jumping up and down in the lounge, you don’t get a feeling like it.
“It would be great if Potters turns in and is going well in the Grand National.”
Balko Des Flos unseated Rachael Blackmore in the Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham, but trainer Henry de Bromhead retains plenty of faith.
He said: “Balko Des Flos is in great form, and his Grand National prep is going as planned.
“He schooled this morning – we fixed our fences to replicate Aintree a bit. He was going really well at Cheltenham until he unseated Rachael at the wedges, but she said he was really enjoying it.
“I’m not sure who will ride him yet – because if Minella Times runs, Rachael might ride him. We also have Aidan Coleman, so he might ride what Rachael doesn’t.”
On the RacehorseClub, he added: “We have plenty of syndicates in the yard, including the Champion Chase winner Put The Kettle On among others.
“I think it’s a great idea – a one-off fee – it’s fantastic value for what you are getting.
“I am delighted to be working with such an exciting new venture, which offers such a great opportunity.”
Michael Bell, trainer of The Lir Jet, said: “I’m sure it will be a great success. The Lir Jet was one of last year’s top two-year-olds and looks an exciting prospect for this year.
“All being well, we will start him off in the Free Handicap at Newmarket’s Craven Meeting in a couple of weeks’ time – and then plans for the rest of the season will unfold thereafter.”