The Centaurian wants ‘a show of hands’ to get the ball rolling…

I AM TOLD that some 1,500 people read my occasional columns on horse racing – thank you very much! Very rewarding to know.

Of course, racing is a great sport for all concerned – breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, spectators, punters, bookies, media and of course the taxman. It has a vast number of followers around the world – but it is an expensive sport, very expensive and out of the reach of most of us, even through the medium of syndicates.

Then I thought that the fact you are reading my column must be because you enjoy the sport very much – but maybe you are not in a position to actually go out and buy a horse – or even join a syndicate.

Then I thought maybe you would like an opportunity to have an affordable involvement, and what might that look like.

Then I thought of the ZIMFUN RACING CLUB – that might work.

ZimFun would be a limited company whose mission would be to race as many horses as possible at Borrowdale Park – and if lucky, beyond – and if very lucky, at a profit. Maybe I can persuade PJ Moor to set up the company for us – free of charge!

A limited company circumvents all the hassles associated with changing syndicate memberships – shareholders can change every week without affecting the company’s eligibility to race.

So we need to make shares affordable – how about US$100 per share – and you can buy one or as many as you like – I would buy at least five straight away.

What should be the authorized capital? It doesn’t matter – make it a million – and we can issue shares as pledges come in.

How much do we need? Silly question! I need all readers to buy one share – in which case that would generate $150,000 – mmmm always the optimist but why not?

How many horses would that buy? If we want a lot of horses then we need to buy well and ship them from South Africa – say $5,000 for the purchase and transport. Then $5,000 for a year’s training fees, paid in advance to minimise the paperwork.

So the annual start-up budget is $10,000 per horse – and 15 would be nice.

The company would have a small elected Board of Directors – on annual rotation – all unpaid – and if you liked, I would be happy to Chair the company. I have been considerably luckier with horses than I have with wives – maybe that’s because I have more empathy with the former!

I would be happy to stand as nominee for the Club too.
I would try and persuade Spencer Murray and Grant Littleford to do the accounts for nout.

Horses would be allocated equally to all trainers who are training more than ten horses at the time – and we would let the trainers do what they are paid to do – with no interference unless asked. There is nothing worse than an owner thinking he knows more than a trainer!

With the advent of WhatsApp and emails – our trainers will be able to keep every shareholder fully informed – as necessary – it’s easy.

And there can be stable visits too – albeit these will have to be well planned if 100 people plan to turn up. But even that is no big deal – bring a bottle of red or a six-pack and the jobs a good ‘un.

We would look to buy a range of horse types from sprinters through to stayers. We might favour colts over fillies but the maxim will be to buy horses we think can win races and are within our price range.

As to colours – we need another first here – and I am going to suggest that our colours be based on a big smiley face – to reflect this is fun, but serious fun – so mainly yellow and black.

On race day, lots will be drawn for which thirty shareholders go in the parade ring. Borrowdale Park has a big parade ring with not many horses and not many owners – thirty should be easy peasy.

Wide-angle lenses provide for winning photographs – of which there will be many.

We will try to make our racing club a big personality club – and mirror the success of Centaur Syndicate that has been going for over forty years – well run with at least one great social event each year. Given the scale of our potential membership that will likely be an annual braai and disco – I know just the place for that.

Big race wins like the Tankard or the OK or the Gold Cup Sprint will trigger separate scale celebrations.

At the end of each year – or maybe racing season – we will look to consider the company’s position at an AGM. We might have made a profit but it is more likely that we will not have done so -but we will have had some great fun.

At that point in time, we will have a rights issue to raise more capital to keep going for a further year and hopefully to buy new stock. The annual accounts will tell us what our shares might be worth and we can buy and sell them at that point in time. If individuals wish to sell their shares at other times, there can be no objection if the seller and buyer can agree on a price between themselves.

Ideally, Zimfun should have the structure and resources to run for many years. Zimfun should also have the capacity to reinvent itself each year – as I said before at $100 per share we only need to sell one hundred shares to get the show on the road.

So now I need to have a show of hands – from my 1,500 readers.

Please “Like” this column and let’s see if we can make it happen – actually since I am buying five shares, we only need to sell 95 more.

Racing fans, this is your opportunity to do just your little bit for Borrowdale Park – which collectively could make Zimfun one of the biggest owners at the track. Go on – “Like” the idea and I will get the ball rolling.


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