FRESH from saddling Latrobe to win the Irish Derby, Joseph O’Brien has launched a new racing club in partnership with racing journalist Kevin Blake.
Aimed at making ownership of well-bred horses more accessible, the Joseph O’Brien Racing Club has an annual membership fee of €500 and will have its first runner at Fairyhouse on Sunday.
The club has three horses initially though it is envisaged more will be added. Blake explained: “As members don’t own shares in the horses within the club, they are not tied down to a fixed team of horses, allowing new horses to be added, and horses that pick up setbacks in training, or have lost their form, to be removed at no additional cost to members.”
Focus Of Attention will be the club’s first runner when she carries top weight in a flat handicap at Fairyhouse. Sourced by Blake in February, she looked a sure-fire future winner when finishing a close third at Navan on her first start for O’Brien last month. The club’s other two horses are an unraced Presenting mare named Seldom Is Precious and a son of Galileo named Subjudice.
O’Brien and Blake have already had discussions with a number of well-established Group 1 breeders with a view to leasing well-bred unraced fillies to run in the club colours next season. They will also be shopping at the July Sale at Newmarket next week with a view to adding to the team.
Members will receive regular updates on club horses from O’Brien and his team via a dedicated smartphone app in the form of reports, photographs and videos.
Those wishing to attend the races when the club has a runner will have their names entered into a draw for the available free passes. Those who miss out will receive a discount at the racecourse entrance and given parade ring access.
Yard visits, social outings and branded merchandise are also part of the package for members.
O’Brien commented: “We are really excited about giving as many people as possible the ownership experience. It’s important for the future of the sport that more people get involved.”
Blake added: “This is a very exciting venture that, at under €10 per week, I feel will offer the best value entry-level ownership experience anywhere in the world. It goes without saying that the goal is to have as many winners as possible in the club’s colours, but we consider it just as important to deliver a top-class ownership experience to the members.”