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Crowdfunding scheme first to help buy shares in racehorses

IT is the innovative new way to fund a project that has helped secure backing for everything from craft beer to computer games.

And now members of the public are being given an opportunity to buy shares in racehorses through a Scottish crowdfunding platform for the first time.

The fundraising technique allows racehorse trainers and syndicates to pitch for investment over the internet and buy a share of a thoroughbred for a one-off payment.

Those who buy in are guaranteed a share in any of the racehorse's winnings as well as its sell-on value, depending on the size of their stake.

It is hoped the scheme will spur interest in horse racing and open up ownership to ordinary people not connected to syndicates or racing clubs.

The move means anyone can own a share in a single horse or build up their own string across multiple trainers.

Crowd Racing, which is based in Larbert, near Falkirk, said crowdfunding provided a lower-cost alternative to ownership than syndicates and racing clubs.

The organisation's founder, Craig McKenna, said: "Owning racehorses will no longer be reserved for the rich and famous - now anyone can genuinely own a share of a thoroughbred for as little as a £75 one-off payment.

"It's an affordable way to get involved, and of course if you have more to invest, the range of owner benefits goes up, but all owners get their share of any prize money, or the proceeds of any sale of their horse."

He added that syndicates can be limited by the number of people who are allowed to be involved, while crowdfunding was open to a much greater audience.

Racing yard Horses First Racing (HFR) became one of the first to pitch for funding on the Crowd Racing website with an unnamed two-year-old colt.

Its pitch target is £75,000 to cover the purchase of the horse and its associated training costs for a year.

Equity crowdfunding business Crowdcube has been selected to provide the technology behind the platform.

Eamonn Wilmott, co-owner of HFR, said: "I'm all behind Crowd Racing; it brings a fresh approach to something that already works really well and gives UK-based racehorse trainers and syndicates a new pool of potential owners.

"We are very keen, through the use of videos and the latest tracking technologies, to demystify all aspects of being a racehorse owner."

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