The Twitterhorse project, launched within the past few days, has sparked the imagination of many people who’ve always wanted to experience ownership of a racehorse. Joining a syndicate is the only affordable way in for the man in the tweet (ouch!).
For those whose funds don’t run to membership of a horseracing syndicate, or if you simply prefer greyhound racing, there’s now a twittergreyhound project organised by avid Tweeter Gary Tunnicliffe who runs GPT Racing.
40-year-old family man Gary has been closely involved with greyhound racing for more than 20 years. Based in the East Midlands, he goes racing weekly at Nottingham. Gary(2nd from right in above pic with his winner Dunham Dooher) says, “I think the twitterhorse idea is a brilliant one and it set me thinking that it could easily work for greyhounds.
“We’re currently involved in four private dogs and twelve club dogs. My father was a breeder and permit trainer on Norton Canes and Perry Barr we always had dogs at home as kids.
“We are aligned with the Dunham Greyhound Centre, who care for all our dogs at a fantastic facility near Nottingham, with its own track. Welfare is paramount and the dogs are cared for with no expense spared. We successfully rehome locally as required.
“The twitter concept will allow access for all at a very affordable price, if we get sufficient numbers and we’ll race throughout the British Isles in open competitions for all to see and enjoy”.
You can follow Gary on twitter here.
Racing For Change’s twitterhorse was loaded into the starting stalls some time ago, though the blindfold was on the news rather than the horse. Now Eamonn Wilmott and James Knight’s twitterhorse has jumped out a few lengths clear of the field just weeks before the planned announcement by Racing For Change.
Racing for Change quickly recognised the effectiveness of social media. CEO Rod Street has been a regular on twitter for some time. and its power as an informal communication network for brands was evident to Rod. That power, triggered the idea and RFC launches its own Twitterhorse, a 2YO filly to be called ‘Lady Tweet’, via Twitter in May.
Rod said, “We’ve been working on this project for a while and recently registered a few Twitter-based names with Weatherbys. One name we wanted was Tweet Tweet but it already belonged to a 1991 broodmare! Lady Tweet has been chosen as it fits our chosen filly’s pedigree nicely, though we’ve got a few more reserved for the future.
“We’re keeping the identity of the filly and details of the yard under wraps for now, ready for the launch in May but suffice to say this will be the ‘people’s’ horse‘ – we’re aiming to create the world’s largest virtual racing club, where all you have to do to be a member is follow it!
“The purpose is to promote the racehorse and tell racing’s story to a new audience, whilst providing interest to the existing one.
“It’s no surprise to me that the first paid Twitter syndicate has appeared and Eammon’s suggestion gathered momentum at a stunning rate – which demonstrates what a superb medium Twitter is. I put myself down for a share incidentally and hope I was in the first 50!
“If Eammon’s syndicate buy a 2yo sprinter then we’d love to race against it! Lady Tweet v The Twitterati? If I’ve got a share in one and responsibility for the other, that’ll make for a day out!!”
Eamonn Wilmott welcomed Rod’s plans for a people’s horse using social media. He said, “I think Rod is doing a great job at Racing for Change and this sort of initiative underlines that. I’m sure other trainers will now pick up on the idea and it can only be good for racing. It’s nice to have such positive stories to balance some of the recent negativity. I wish Racing For Change every success with their horse, and we look forward to meeting our twitter rival on the racecourse!”
Racing For Change’s people’s website is here and news will appear soon about plans for Lady Tweet.
It started yesterday morning around eight o’clock. Racehorse trainer Jeremy Gask had already travelled from his yard in the sleepy Wiltshire village of Sutton Veny to Newmarket to watch 200 young horses work prior to the Craven meeting breeze-up sales this week. (breeze-ups are where horses for sale go through their paces for potential buyers – a kind of equine models catwalk)
Owner and well-known industry figure James Knight of bookmaker Corals tweeted his possible interest in getting a young horse. Eamonn Wilmott, owner of Horses First Racing was, unusually for him, already up the tower at the Sutton Veny farm and helping out by timing the horses as they worked (Hill gallop pictured above).
Having a few minutes between lots Eamonn tweeted back “how about a twitter syndicate? 50 members pay £400 each and £50 a month – gives us a budget of £20,000 for a horse”. James immediately loved the idea and re-tweeted it which is when the fun started.
The response was instantaneous and overwhelmingly positive, within an hour there were dozens of members signing up from Gibraltar, Ireland, Spain and throughout the UK. Later in the day the Racing Post picked up the story and the idea spread faster and more widely. By this morning new members from Singapore and Australia had also signed up and press interest has continued to increase with reporters from as far away as Australia getting in touch.
Eamonn commented “This really was a touch of déjà vu for me. Being around when the Internet first got started commercially I was lucky enough to see how quickly ideas can take off. In this instance I have to give credit to trainer Jeremy Gask as he actually mentioned the idea a few weeks ago. I think it’s a racing certainty that we will set up more of these syndicates”
Eamonn Wilmott has a very dependable intuition when it comes to potentially successful new ideas. An entrepreneur who was born in England in 1961, he moved to California where he published the book Supercomputing Review and, based on its success, founded an award-winning magazine of the same name. He then went on to launch what was probably the world’s first commercial Internet service, aimed at the Super Computing market.
Mr Wilmott returned to the UK in the mid 90s and set up what was to become Europe’s most successful web services company, founded as Online Magic, with Andy Hobsbawm. The company later became part of the Agency.com network. MrWilmott oversaw the launching of Europe’s first real-time credit card verification system, the world’s first e-zine, and web sites for Manchester Utd., British Airways, Sporting Index, Channel 4 and others. He was part of the team that took Agency.com public in 1999 at a market capitalisation of over 2 billion dollars.
Mr Wilmott left Agency.com around the turn of the millennium, for a new life in Wiltshire, England. A long time racing enthusiast, he and his wife Oriana converted a former dairy farm in the Wylye valley and established a state of the art racehorse training centre, which now employs over 20 people and can train up to 70 horses. ‘Horses First Racing’, co-owned with Tony Bloom, employs a leading Australian trainer, Jeremy Gask.
In July 2010 Wilmott was appointed Chairman of the Board of Thoroughbred Owner and Breeder Magazine.
Follow Eamonn on twitter here
Details of the #Twitterhorse syndicate: £400+VAT per share and then £50+VAT a month all in by standing order (or £250 per six months). VAT can sometimes be reclaimed – we will provide details.
There will be 50 members in the syndicate. Jeremy Gask is buying a horse at the breeze-ups this week and we will post up pictures and pedigree immediately.
Definitely part of the package will be a box at the races and a private party for all syndicate members here at the farm. Race day tickets willl be available free on rotation (we can normally buy extras at half price). Syndicate members will be welcome to visit the farm to watch their horse work and will also receive a weekly update on all of the yard’s runners. Full owner benefits can be seen on our owners package.
All syndicate members are entitled to a full share of prize money – usually paid out at the Christmas party.
The plan will be to keep the horse in training for two years and then for him/her to be sold at the horses in training sale in October 2012. If an offer should be received for the horse while it is in training, the syndicate members will be given the opportunity to vote on whether to accept any offer. All members will recieve a full share of any proceeds from any sale.
The horse’s name, the syndicate name, and the racing colours will be voted on by the syndicate.
The main thing is we will do everything possible to make this as fun as possible for everyone involved. The above stuff is guaranteed but we will try and be creative and come up with other fun ideas.
Shares will be allocated on first come first serve basis. Full information here