Why Running A Syndicate Is A Piece Of Cake

Features | 27th April 2022

At the end of another successful season, Group 1 winning trainer Fergal O’Brien shares the secret of his success with syndicate-owned horses at his base at the heart of The Cotswolds.

There’s always a warm welcome – and a cake – at Ravenswell Farm Stables in the heart of the Cotswolds, where Grade 1 winning National Hunt trainer Fergal O’Brien and his team are reflecting on a successful season that has brought them over 100 winners.

Fergal values every owner, big and small, which is why his own syndicates have proven such a big success. “We encourage all our syndicate members to visit the yard and see their horses at rest and at work,” he says. “It’s not just about a day at the races with us.

“The aim is to bring together a group of eight to 12 like-minded individuals into each partnership so they can experience racing at a fraction of the cost of owning a horse outright,” adds the trainer, whose Manothepeople, Blue Sans and Nothin To Ask helped to fly the FOB Racing flag in 2021/22.

The Irishman is currently training 12 horses under his own FOB Racing banner, which has been synonymous with success since its inception around four years ago following the popularity his team enjoyed with its first foray into syndication.

“Ocean Cove and Liosduin Bhearna were two of the horses that really put our syndicates on the map. They won us some nice races between them and have given their owners a lot of fun,” he adds.

Fergal puts much of FOB Racing’s success down to the hard work of his partner and assistant trainer Sally Randell and social media manager Dr Simon Gillson. “Sally follows the Irish point-to-point scene very closely and that’s where we source the majority of our horses from,” he explains.

“She works closely with Neil O’Donald in Ireland to identify the promising ones that might have finished third or fourth in a point and are available at the right price. Ideally we aim to pay between £25,000 and £40,000 for them.”

New arrivals enter pre-training with former top jockey Jason Maguire – and it’s at his yard that new owners first get to meet their horses.

“We organise breakfast at Jason’s to introduce them to their horses before we bring them to Ravenswell to get them ready to race,” explains Fergal, who also trainers for other syndicate organisations including Middleham Park, Owners Group, Noel Fehily Racing and Imperial Racing.

While Sally unearths the new talent for Fergal to train, Simon’s marketing skills help to attract new shareholders to the syndicates. “Simon is a GP by day but loves his involvement with the yard. With his skill and hard work we’ve been able to establish a good presence on social media which helps to generate a lot of interest,” adds Fergal.

FOB racing owners clearly have a sweet tooth, as the cakes they enjoy on stable visits have earned him quite a reputation. Twitter hashtags #GreatFOBBakeOff and #BakeForFergal have helped to attract over 16,000 followers.

“Dr Simon must take the credit for the cakes which we’ve become famed for but all the baking we encourage our owners to get involved in hasn’t done much for my waistline,” he jokes.

If you’ve got ambitions of your own when it comes to racehorse ownership, why not explore the possibility of running your own syndicate. Our six simple steps to assist you in setting up your own shared ownership business might just get you started! 


We have enjoyed plenty of success with the Fergal O’Brien (FOB) Racing Partnerships over the years, each partnership carries the lucky FOB colours and owns their horse outright with a different group of people. Generally, we purchase Irish Point to Point horses that have shown good ability and consistency, this is how we find good value in our purchases.