Big Interview: Racehorse owner David Braithwaite
Craig Salmon talks to David Braithwaite, who is the founder of The Horses Mouth Racing Club, based in Leyland
"And they’re into the final furlong; it’s Desert Cat by a length....”
It is conceivable that Leyland horseracing enthusiast David Braithwaite often dreams of such a commentary.
For the 47-year-old has ventured into the world of horseracing ownership – and is inviting other such fans of the sport to join him on the adventure.
Braithwaite has set up The Horses Mouth Racing Club, which is based in his home town, and offers fellow racing aficionados the chance to buy shares in a horse.
Only established since last year, the club boasts one bay filly – Desert Cat – on its books but its founder is hoping she will be the first of many.
Under the club’s terms, potential owners can buy shares for £99 each per year with a maximum of 500 shares on offer per horse.
For that outlay, owners get VIP access to the club’s member’s area and will enter into a ballot to receive an owner’s badge at race meetings.
Of course, any prizemoney which is won will be shared out equally.
With reputable local trainer Eric Alston, of Longton, housing her at his Edges Farm stables and providing his expertise, Braithwaite has high hopes for Desert Cat.
Boasting an impressive blood lineage, her first dam was multiple winner Wonderful Desert and her second dam was One So Wonderful, who was a champion older mare in 1998, winning more than £250,000 in prize money.
Other famous horses in Desert Cat’s blood line include Derby winner Nashwan and Danzig.
Although early days in her development, she has so far contested four races under previous trainer Hughie Morrison – and was narrowly beaten into third spot at Wolverhampton in her last outing in November.
With such a promising first six months of racing behind her, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Braithwaite has a serial winner on his hands, although as he well knows a lot can happen in the ultra competitive sport that is horseracing.
“Eric is very excited about Desert Cat,” said Braithwaite.
“So far she’s been brilliant. He says that he can’t see anything wrong with her.
“Eric is a bit of a glass half empty man, but he says her temperament is brilliant.
“She’s keen on her training and he’s really excited about her. He thinks I have got a good horse, which is a real positive.
“I have looked at her blood line and if you go back a couple of generations, there’s a Derby winner.
“That is quite exciting.
“She ran four times last year and in the last one finished third in what was really good race on the all- weather at Wolverhampton.
“She was beaten by two horses who have previously won races and she ran really well.
“She was forced out wide for the entire race and ended up getting beaten by less than a length.
“Looking at that race, Eric said he could see potential.
“I don’t know what plan he has yet for her. He’s going to run her on grass rather than all-weather but in terms of the type of race she is going to go for, that is a conversation we’ll be having in the next few weeks.”
While the potential of Desert Cat is exciting, Braithwaite accepts she is still an unknown quantity, but who is to say she can’t be a star in the making?
“Initially, she is likely to run in a class four race which could be, depending on the course, worth £10,000 to £15,000 if she wins,” said Braithwaite, who revealed she is likely to be rode by jockey Jason Hart.
“She will run probably five or six times this summer so there’s the potential for owners to win the whole amount back.
“Whether that actually happens though, it is probably a pipe dream. You have to be realistic and a horse is not going to win every race.”
Braithwaite is hoping Desert Cat will be the first of many racehorses assigned to the club.
While there are many clubs offering ownership, he believes he is offering an unique service.
“I am looking to offer the experience of owning a racehouse without the financial liability of doing so,” he said. “To buy a horse, to have it trained – you’re talking thousands and thousands of pounds.
“It is not accessible to the average working man.
“What I want to do is give people the opportunity of racehorse ownership at a reasonable cost.
“The beauty of it is they will get all the benefits of owning a horse, including any prizemoney which will be split up between the 500 shareholders.
“If they want to go watch the horse, they will eligible to go into a ballot.
“I think racecourses, depending on which, offer six owners’ badges per meeting.
“Failing that, when we are allowed to go and watch racing again, most racecourses will offer discounted rates to those owners who miss out in the ballot.
“There will be organised stable visits to watch the horse train.”
Braithwaite’s interest in horse racing stems as far back as when he was a child and he used to watch the sport with his dad.
He has looked into owning a racehorse in the past and felt that some of the benefits other race clubs offered were not worthwhile.
“I looked at other racing clubs and felt that they didn’t really offer a lot,” he said.
“Most racing clubs will have thousands and thousands of shares in a horse.
“I wanted to offer value for money and so that people will be getting something for their money as opposed to just being another number.”
Long-term, Braithwaite – who works as an office manager at Walker Adamson, which is based in Buckshaw – is hoping to have several horses under his wing and who knows it may even become his full-time occupation.
He has enlisted the help of his children, stepson Stuart Pritchard (34), step-daughter Stephanie Pritchard (28) and daughter Abi-Gail (22).
And he is also keen that the club maintains its local roots to Leyland despite the fact that anybody can buy shares in his horses.
“My children are all involved with it,” he said.
“They are really excited about where it could go and they’ve all bought a share.”
If you would like more information about buying a share in Desert Cat, please visit: https://thehorsesmouthracingclub.co.uk