Canadian harness racing trainer and driver Anthony MacDonald will visit New Zealand in September to hold ownership seminars.
Best known as the founder of the fractional ownership operation ‘The Stable’, MacDonald has been a driving force in increasing ownership in Canada and introducing new blood into harness racing.
MacDonald ran for local government in Guelph in 2014, campaigning to help save harness racing following the loss of slot machine funding and raising awareness about the sport and what it provides in terms of local employment and economy.
During his time campaigning he knocked on hundreds of doors, and realised that there was a huge untapped market of potential owners.
He talked to people who had heard of horse racing, but had the perception that it was only for rich people.
They had no idea that they could be involved, let alone how to become a part of it.
With this in mind, MacDonald started ‘The Stable’ in September 2015 with the aim of making horse ownership easy for a whole new market, but also to break down the walls of communication and demystify harness racing to the outside world.
He would take on horses that hadn’t sold at yearling sales for vendors, as well as sales purchases, and would market the horses to potential new owners as they were being broken in and worked.
This allowed people to see the horse in action and follow its progress by way of video and live drone updates, before committing to purchasing a share.
MacDonald has ensured that the shares remain affordable, with shares as small as one percent available.
With initial buy in costs varying, depending on the purchase price of the yearling, and then a set fee per month ensures the owners know what it will cost them.
The Stable markets itself strongly on the fact that this is not a money-making venture – but an affordable form of entertainment.
The Stable has owners all across the world now, including New Zealand.
The results in just three years have been outstanding. In the first year The Stable had 65 owners join into 25 horses.
The following year 140 owners went into 62 horses.
And in 2017, 392 owners went into 106 horses.
But what is most impressive is the retention rate - 97 percent of those owners have now gone on to join into other horses, from year one to two to three with The Stable.
The Stable has been a huge success story in not only selling shares, but selling the industry of harness racing and the thrill it provides just by being an owner.
A passionate public speaker, MacDonald will bring his experience and findings to New Zealand and will hold free seminars in Invercargill, Christchurch and Auckland.
These seminars will not only be open to trainers and syndicators who are interested in finding out more about how they can attract new owners, and find out more about communication options that are available to them, but to all who are interested in attending.
“I’m really excited to be coming to New Zealand. It has always been a place I wanted to visit. I might have a foreign accent, but my love for racing is the same as yours,” MacDonald joked.
“The future of our industry will rely heavily on its ability to provide the general public with a fresh option for their entertainment dollars.
This will also be a wonderful opportunity for cadets and junior drivers to learn more about self-promotion and communication, first hand from a harness racing trainer and driver who has forged a new path in the international industry.
MacDonald will be in New Zealand in September and he will also speak on the first day of the Harness Racing New Zealand annual conference (September 28), this year to be held in Auckland.