Auction of Race Horses – A Ground Breaking Development in India

Auction of race horses is going on globally for over 250 years. Auction started 250 years back in England (Video link provided). Main auction sales abroad are Tattersalls in Newmarket England, Arqana in France, Goff’s in Ireland, Keenland in USA. Horses worth crores are exchanged in these auction sales. At least 5-6 auctions take place in a year at various times in the international markets, for pregnant broodmares to yearlings, 2 year olds etc. Highest priced horse in USA has been US$16.3 million (approx Rs. 111 Crores).
Auctions of race horses do not take place in India. All horses are sold in private sales only. Reason being this is a business exclusively for rich and famous. Common people are not part of this sport other than betting on horses which is legal in India. Also, most of the transactions are in cash and buyer as well seller do not wish to disclose true price of a horse.

Demonetisation has forced the industry to arrange the first auction after many years. Madras Race club has taken initiative and first auction of the year is being held on Jan 15 and Jan 16 at Madras Race Club, Guindy, Chennai. 155 Horses have been entered out of which 130 have already reached the race club. All the horse trading must undergo in the auction ring and no private sale is allowed till the auction is complete. Only approved owners in any of the turf club can bid in the auction. It is expected that next year they may allow any Indian with money to buy horses in the auction ring.

To help buyers to bid in auction, Madras Race Club (MRC) has come out with a finance option for buyers. An interest-free loan will be provided by MRC to buyer which will have to be repaid in ten equal instalments in next ten months. Buyer has only to pay the VAT amount immediately. Insurance cost must also be if MRC is financing the purchase. Only condition is that till March 31,2018 horse will race in Chennai if the buyer is opting for finance. By making full payment the buyer can take the horse anywhere else. Till March 31,2017 stabling facility will be provided in Chennai.

In my (Mr. Ravindra Gowande) opinion this is a Game Changer for the industry. Being the first year, many industry players are very sceptical about the success of auction. Due to shortage and close monitoring of cash transactions, breeders are finding it difficult to sell their horses in large cash transactions as before, evading taxes.

For breeders, this auction is a good opportunity to attract higher middle class households in this sport. Middle class is the segment even the MNCs are targeting. In the auction, true valuations of the horses will be realised and this will attract foreign buyers also. Buyers from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong usually go to UK, France and USA. Same quality can be bought in India legitimately.

Since in the auction ring, only medically fit and sound horses are sold, it will be easy for them to be exported in future. Also, all the information of the auction will be available for future. True and authentic data thus made available will help the industry.

Good pedigree horses are available from leading farms in India like Poonawala, Sans Craintes, Sohna, United Racing & Bloodstock Breeders etc., which can be bought for Rs 12-14 Lakhs. These can be raced in big graded races where price money will be from Rs. 12 lakhs to Rs. 2 crores. Higher Middle income households can avail of this opportunity since 3 or 4 people can pool in Rs 3 Lakhs each and get good pedigree horse in the auction ring legitimately.

Pedigreestar Racing and Breeding Services LLP (an approved owner in Mumbai and Bangalore and in the process of approval in Mysore and Chennai) will be buying horses in the Chennai auction.