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This article was written on 20 Oct 2013.

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The Sport for Kings

Country lifestyle offers a wide range of activities from gardening, to fishing and hunting. One of the most prestigious hobbies and sports in the country is the racehorse breeding, also known as a “Sport for Kings”. There is no better example as Aga Khan Studs’ success story.

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Prince Karim Aga Khan IV is one of the most popular racehorse owner and breeder in the world. According to Forbes Aga Khan is one of the richest royals; he is also a spiritual leader, 49th Imam of Nizari Ismailism and a successful business magnate. His Highness has played a significant role in the world affairs by fighting poverty and promoting humanitarian work. Aga Khan Development Network is the largest private development helping to improve environment, education and restoration of the historic cities. However, Aga Khan’s biggest passion is horse racing and his breeding empire has been built on legacy, traditions and hard work of the previous generations. Today, Aga Khan owns the largest racing and breeding operations in France and Ireland. According to his Highness: “Aga Khan breeding policies are anchored in the most stringent parameters of probability, developed over decades, and challenged regularly by exceptions that deserve to be tested. The trust we place in this process is enhanced by the success that other traditional breeders have had, and are continuing to have, in European breeding and racing”. In the book A Racing and Breeding Tradition: The Horses of the Aga Khan the author Philip Jodido traces the history of the Aga Khan’s breeding activities back to 1800 where Aga Khan I started the operations in India. Aga Khan III shifted his interests to Europe, where nutrient rich soil was the ideal grazing for young foals. The key to success was in mating, Aga Khan III used the expert in dosage theory and modern technology to calculate the most successful matings. The book also tells the story about Aga Khan’s IV ten best horses and His Highness support of the racing industry. CNN reported that luxurious Grand Stables and Museum of the Horse in the northern France had over $3 million makeover led by Aga Khan.

Horse racing is not only about sport, it’s also about glamor and prestige. And there are many prestigious racing events throughout the year including Breeders’ Cup Turf, Vodafone Derby, the Budweiser Irish Derby, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and the Dubai Champion Stakes. According to Aga Khan one of the greatest Derby events happens in England: “For my grandfather no race carried greater prestige and glory than the Epsom Derby. He exchanged correspondence on breeding with his English racing friends and advisers, and he measured his successes against those of the best established figures of British racing.”

Thinking of investing in the racehorse? The initial purchase could be anywhere between $10 000 and $500 000. In additional to that there is a long list of other costs such as training, shoeing, Jockey fees, and transportation and it could run around $60 000. According to the Telegraph, one of the best ways to learn about the racehorse business is to join a racing club. The largest club in UK is Elite, where members of the club are not owners of any part of the racehorse and prize money distributed among members. For $300/year you can join a club.

Our partner, VIP Concierge Company Innerplace suggests joining the Riding Club in London. The Riding Club London is a private members’ club and equestrian concierge service that provides access to quality horses, riding lessons and trips for riders in London. Bringing together like-minded, equine enthusiasts in the capital, they offer regular riding at premier venues in and around London, and escapes from the city with day clinics and weekend breaks in the English countryside. They work with leading experts to arrange group trips and tailored experiences in all disciplines of riding, including dressage, jumping, polo and hunting, and source the best horses for every event. Meanwhile, back in London, the RCL hosts a variety of social events, ranging from lecture evenings to cocktail parties.

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