Canadian harness racing trainer and driver Anthony MacDonald said in a recent promotional webcast, “Hey New Zealand, my name is Anthony MacDonald from the Stable.ca and we’re going to be coming your way this September. My wife Amy and I built this stable in three short years we have gone from zero to 103 horses. All these horses are owned by 413 people represented by 10 countries. Some people own one share, some people own many shares. The great thing about the Stable.ca is that there is something for everybody. We’ve learnt a lot over the last three years and are excited to share it all with you in the Stable.ca’s New Zealand tour this September.”
With the support of Harness Racing New Zealand Anthony MacDonald will visit New Zealand this month to conduct a series of seminars, the first of which is to be held this Friday (21st September) in Southland.
Anthony is the founder of the fractional ownership operation entitled ‘The Stable’ and through this medium has been a leader in increasing ownership in harness racehorses in Canada, along the way introducing many new owners to the sport.
Anthony MacDonald ran for local government in Guelph in 2014, campaigning to help save harness racing following the loss of slot machine funding and raising awareness about the sport and what it provides in terms of local employment and economy. During his time campaigning he knocked on hundreds of doors, and realised that there was a huge untapped market of potential owners, talking to people who had heard of horse racing, but had the perception that it was only for rich people. They had no idea that they could be involved; let alone how to become a part of it.
So, with this in mind, Anthony started ‘The Stable’ in September 2015, with the aim of making horse ownership easy for a completely new market. He started by taking on horses that hadn’t sold at the yearling sales and also by purchasing yearlings from the sales in his own right, marketing the horses to potential new owners as they were being broken-in and commencing training. This meant that people could see the horse in action and follow its progress by way of video and live drone updates, before they committed to purchasing a share.
Anthony ensured that the shares remained affordable, allowing shares as small as 1% to be available. With initial purchase costs varying depending on the purchase price of the yearling, a set fee per month ensured that owners knew what the costs would be. ‘The Stable’ actually markets itself on the basis that it is not a money-making venture, but is an affordable form of entertainment.
Each yearling is listed on ‘The Stable’ website at www.thestable.ca and has its own profile, cost breakdown, as well as monthly progress video reports and stunning live drone footage of the horse working in training. Anthony has a strong focus on utilising social media as a communication tool, so potential or actual owners can watch the horse work from anywhere in the world. ‘The Stable’ has owners from all across the world, including New Zealand.
After just three years, the results have been outstanding, with 65 owners joining into 25 horses in the first year of ‘The Stables’ existence, then in the following year 140 owners went into 62 horses and in 2017, 392 owners went into 106 horses. ‘The Stable’ boasts an impressive retention rate, with 97% of the owners having gone on to join in the ownership of other horses in subsequent years.
‘The Stable’ has obviously had huge success in not only selling shares in horses, but selling the industry of harness racing and the thrill it provides just by being an owner, reaching a whole new market of owners who previously felt ownership was financially unaffordable.
Of course, the New Zealand harness racing industry has also had its own success stories in public syndication, with the likes of the Auckland Trotting Club Syndicates enjoying huge success at an affordable cost, as well as the NZ Met Syndicates and those established by Stonewall Stud.
Breckon Farms has also undertaken syndication, specifically of fillies that have mainly been bred on the farm, so far having established six annual syndicates, they too have enjoyed huge success. Each of the first four syndicates established (3YO & older racing seasons) have raced Group 1 winners, amassing an impressive total of 11 Group 1 wins. Overall, for 2YO & older fillies racing, Breckon Farms Syndicates have had 98 wins and 90 placings and earned an impressive total of $1,814,609 in stakes and have been in the money (1st, 2nd or 3rd) an incredible 49.1% of the time – 75% above the national figure for last season.
The MacDonald Seminars will bring Anthony’s experience and findings to New Zealand and are free to all those who are interested to attend, whether they be trainers and syndicators who are interested to find out more about how they can attract new owners and what communication options are available to them, or to any others who may be interested in attending.
Proudly presented by Harness Racing New Zealand, below are the dates for the Anthony MacDonald Seminars which will be free to anyone who wishes to attend (Please note numbers are limited at some venues):-
Friday 21st September 2018
7pm Mararoa Room – Ascot Park Hotel, Southland
Tuesday 25th September 2018
7pm Blossom Lady Lounge – Addington Raceway, Christchurch
Wednesday 26th September 2018
7pm Garden Bar – Karaka, Auckland
Each seminar will run for approximately one hour, with the opportunity to have a question and answer session, followed by mix and mingle with finger food and nibbles.
To register for the seminars, or if you would like more information, please contact Jess Smith, the recent Canterbury Awards Female Racing Achievement Award winner and Harness Racing New Zealand Communications & Ownership Coordinator, on Tel: 03 964 1200, Mob: 027 261 4427, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.