As well as being a great time waster the internet also occasionally throws up the odd gem.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had one graphic reappear in my various newsfeeds which demonstrated the number of people involved in getting just one horse to the racetrack.
It’s a telling image with two key figures illustrated in deep blue – the owner and the trainer. Being American in origin the owner is backed up by both an accountant and an attorney (the latter possibly not a regular on an NZ chart, unless your ownership gig is something akin to a full-scale business).
Others featured include the bloodstock agent and Auction house – assuming one has purchased a horse at the sales – otherwise you could possibly transpose these with a syndicator.
Of course, a breeder is also key to the operation – assuming the owner isn’t in the job of breeding his own stock – and that also means a stud farm, the stallion manager, various stud staff involved in the actual breeding and eventual foaling down of the mare.
Those staff also come into play when it comes time to wean the foal and agist it prior to its yearling prep. Following on from that stage we get to the fun time of the year which we are all enjoying at the moment – the annual round of yearling sales.
A major shout-out to all those incredibly talented, dedicated, sleep-deprived, sore-footed yearling handlers who have a) got that horse to this stage and b) contribute greatly to the end-price come the time the hammer drops.
Of course, there are other peripheral but equally important people who help during the preparation stage. No owner can possibly forget the vets – their invoices generally make them impossible to ignore. They are another bunch who are constantly on the move at this time of year.
Farriers; feed merchants; those who provide the necessary gear in the way of bits and halters; and various forms of manipulators and/or physios also have their roles to play. The float companies, who work through the logistics which get all the yearlings to the saleyards, and their ever patient drivers are yet another component.
There’s also the office staff at various studs and/or yearling prep outfits who organise the marketing – involving talented photographers, videographers and writers – who contribute to the end result.
The auction company has also had staff out pre-sales checking out the potential sale candidates and come sale time there are the tireless bid-spotters; auctioneers; marshalls who keep the numbers flowing; runners who get the paperwork signed and the all-important buyer’s chits delivered; the people removing manure from the ring and so it goes on!
Of course, the cast of hundreds does not diminish once the hammer falls either. The float companies are called back into play to transport the new purchase to its next abode. That can either be the breakers or possibly the airport, which involves a whole other raft of personnel to transport said yearling elsewhere. And, of course, before this can happen the insurance has to be sorted – yet another body involved.
Finally, the “finished product” enters the trainer’s stable and gets a whole new suite of staff and handlers to panders to its every whim as it begins its journey to become a fully-fledged racehorse.
By the time raceday rolls around there is a jockey involved, possibly one with an agent, so that’s a couple more involved in the mission to get this horse to the track. Racecourse staff, from those in the office involved in the putting on of the actual meeting; through to the bloke playing the bugle (if you’re lucky enough to be debuting at Ellerslie!); the people on the gates; the ones selling the racebooks; the talented horsemen on the starting gates, and so the list goes on – they all play a part in the big picture.
And speaking of the big picture then there is the televising of the actual race – the commentators, the cameramen, the Trackside front-people and hard-working behind the scenes team who make sure everything flows.
Of course, it is all about the betting, so the tote staff on and off-course are also an integral part of the whole machine – otherwise, why would we do what we do?
Once the race is run there are also people like the ones in charge of swabbing and the lab testing, along with the stipes and raceday control.
It’s quite a list of people, and to be honest, many of the ones I’ve listed weren’t on the graphic I saw on line. I’ve probably left out some very obvious ones but hopefully you get the idea.
The title of the original graphic was “Who does one racehorse employ?” Puts us all in our place really doesn’t it?
We might think we are the ones in charge, but in reality we are their employees. In a couple of weeks there will be a whole new range at Karaka looking for new staff. Don’t be shy, get amongst it!