I have always been fanatical about racing and have followed it from a young age. I gained a place on the British Horseracing Board Graduate Development Programme after finishing university in 2000. From this course, I was lucky enough to secure a job as Executive Assistant at the BHB and then Commercial Executive, where my job involved working with the BHB Directors, as well as working on all aspects on the BHB’s commercial responsibilities, especially involving rights negotiations with the bookmaking industry, as well as the BHB’s relationship with Weatherbys.
I wanted to further my experience in the bloodstock and practical areas of the industry and fortunately I gained a place on the Darley Flying Start Programme from 2004 to 2006, where I spent an incredible two years travelling the world (UK, Ireland, USA, Dubai, Australia), learning and working on Darley’s stud farms, as well as meeting and undertaking work placements with many of the leading operations and people in all aspects of racing and breeding. On the back of the course, I began a job as a bloodstock agent with Anthony Stroud Bloodstock, based in Newmarket, where I have been since summer 2006, assisting Anthony and more recently establishing clients of my own to purchase horses for racing and breeding, both privately and at public auction, as well as providing advice to clients on such subjects as matings for mares and racing plans.
My job first began as assisting Anthony with his work both in the office and when working at the sales, but my in-depth knowledge of racing form was also beneficial, as Anthony has always used me to source horses in training for clients. More recently I have established clients of my own and now Anthony and I effectively work as a team on all aspects of purchasing horses for racing and breeding, both privately and at public auction, as well as providing advice to clients on such subjects as matings for mares and racing plans.
We are based in the office in Newmarket, but we will attend almost every sale in Europe and several in the USA as well and also often spend time visiting clients (trainers, owners and breeders) and inspecting horses. Our business transcends the entire industry, thus every day is different, but we provide advice on stallion matings for broodmares, book these matings at the best possible price, purchase foals, yearlings, breeze-up two year-olds, horses in training, broodmares and stallions at public auction and privately and provide advice on suitable race plans and strategies.
The relationship with clients is important and thus we spend a lot of time keeping in touch with clients, following horses we have purchased on the gallops, at the races and on stud farms, providing on-going advice and support and travelling to try to source new clients at home and abroad.
No actual qualifications are necessary, but a genuine passion for racing and breeding is essential, as is an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the global industry, horse conformation, pedigrees and racing form. It is also important to be personable and to be able to associate with a variety of different people.
There are not a huge number of people who become successful bloodstock agents, but those that do have tended to have a good grounding with trainers and on stud farms around the world. This experience is invaluable in terms of skills, knowledge and knowing influential industry figures. It is very useful to have the hands-on background knowledge before you begin buying horses for clients.
My route was a little different, as my first job in racing was more administrational and thus the skills and experience that I gained on Darley Flying Start, together with my passion and knowledge of racing and pedigrees, allowed me to fill in the gaps that I had in my knowledge through not undertaking the more traditional route of trainers and stud farms. I certainly would not be doing this job without my time on Darley Flying Start.
Passion, enthusiasm, a good work ethic and the ability to get on with people will get you a long way. I also believe that having an in-depth knowledge of form and pedigrees is essential, as without this you will not be able to provide the correct advice to clients, nor appear knowledgeable enough for people to want to employ you as their bloodstock agent.
It is also important to gain as much experience as possible in all aspects of the industry, such as spending time on a stud farm, with a trainer, with a vet etc. The BHA Graduate Development Programme, the English or Irish National Stud Courses and the Darley Flying Start Programme are all also worth considering.