Racehorse Trainer

"The breadth of expertise is so much greater than employing a person in-house"

Brook takes the financial reins for successful racehorse trainer

© Francesca Altoft


Harry Fry is a young and ambitious racehorse trainer who has got off to a flying start.  From the moment he took out a licence in October 2012 it was abundantly clear that the lessons he learnt working for Paul Nicholls and Richard Barber had not been wasted. He ended his first shortened season with twenty winners and his handling of horses like Rock On Ruby soon had a number of new owners knocking at his door.

Statistics from the next three campaigns offer compelling evidence of Harry’s rapid climb up the trainers’ tree. He has increased his winners and prize money each season and ended 2016-17 with 67 wins and over £1M prize money. The business is developing fast with a rapidly expanding stable and Harry is on course to increase the wins and prize money tally again for 2017-18!

Reason he approached us

Harry was convinced from the very outset of his business that sound financial management was essential to success and wanted a professional team to help him. Harry is very capable with numbers but his passion is the horses and he realised that if he was to achieve his ambitious goals he needed people he could rely on while he was out on the gallops training winners!

As Harry explains “Managing horses requires a lot of time and focus.  It’s not just about training the horses themselves, but dealing with the owners, managing the staff and keeping track of countless details, as well as running an efficient business.”

“Given all these demands we needed to delegate the financial administration to someone really capable.  Alison and her team provide all the services we require…wages and payroll, customer invoicing, issuing sales receipts, cashflow forecast management as well as general business growth projections, budgeting and so on.”

What we do for him

Basically everything to do with the day to day finances!

  • General bookkeeping
  • Paying staff and suppliers
  • Raising sales invoices – this involves keeping track of all the individual horses in terms of the days they have been at rest or in full training as well as costs that can be directly attributed to them such as farrier costs, vet’s bills and racing expenses.
  • Chasing outstanding debts
  • Fortnightly payroll – liaising with Harry’s Racing Secretary as the wages are variable and complex

  • Monitoring cashflow on a rolling basis – giving Harry complete visibility of what is round the corner
  • Helping with the budget setting for each year and comparing actual results to this budget as the year progresses
  • Preparation of monthly management accounts with a conference call each month to “touch base”.  Also a quarterly face to face meeting for a more in-depth run through the figures.  The monthly call is really useful for communication and ensures we are very much part of the overall team and yard operation.
  • Liaising with the end of year tax accountant to make the whole process more efficient, accurate and easier for everyone all round.

It’s not just about what we do for clients, but how we do it. We treat their money as conscientiously as if it were our own. We’re fanatical about attention to detail and put systems in place that maximise profitability.

Additional ways in which we help

We also look after the VAT returns for some of Harry’s owners – this makes it easier for them to buy horses from him. It also helps us to build relationships with his customers and means we become a one stop shop for all their needs.

Why is the Brook Financial way different?

We set up the accounts software from day one so that Harry could track the costs and income for every horse individually. Not many bookkeepers would do this as it is more time consuming and complicated. However, we knew this data would be useful to Harry as the business developed – and we were right!

We also make sure all costs are tracked in intricate detail – this makes it easier for Harry to make well-informed management decisions and assists with maximising profitability.

Harry has no doubts about the benefits of the Brook service. “We wouldn’t be where we are without them.  They allow me to concentrate on training the horses, safe in the knowledge that the accounts and the finances are well managed, that the invoices are being chased up promptly and that I have accurate cashflow forecasts.  It also gives me more time to build closer relationships with the owners, which is very important.”

Although we physically don’t work at the yard Harry sees that as an advantage. “The fact they are looking from the outside in is a positive. It gives Brook a degree of detachment – they can sometimes spot things that we wouldn’t necessarily be aware of. They are really on top of everything and we have regular meetings to ensure the business is running smoothly.”

Final word

“We find it very useful to have access to Alison’s experience and specialist knowledge whenever we need it, but we also have access to all the other expert resources.  She delegates the most appropriate specialists from her team to give us the best support and input.” 

“The breadth and depth of expertise is so much greater than employing a person in-house.  And when they take a holiday or go sick you have a problem, whereas with Brook you always have ample cover.  Also, one person would have struggled to cope with our growth but Alison just scaled up her team to keep pace.  There are lots of plusses with Brook!”

We can help your business reach its potential