I am currently receiving several requests per week for advice on how to become a bloodstock agent, or how to get started in the racing and breeding industry. I do not have the time to deal with them all individually, so here are a few thoughts that I hope may help.
Firstly – there is no substitute for an education, and if it includes languages and business studies, so much the better. Then decide whether you are a leader or a follower, i.e. an entrepreneur or a wage slave. Even if you ultimately intend to be your own boss (the greatest luxury a person can have), I advise that you start out as an employee and make (and learn from) your mistakes at someone else’s expense. Not everyone is suited to entrepreneurship, but you can have a very respected and respectable career in many aspects of the business without flying solo.
There are two routes you can take into this business.
1. Clean Hands
If you are essentially a desk jockey, this is the route for you. There are endless possibilities e.g. racing administration, B.H.B., Jockey Club, Weatherbys, racecourse management, public relations, sponsorship, pedigree research, form books, publishing, stud or trainers secretary. To give an example, when I advertised for a secretary for Juddmonte Farms in the early days, I received 58 replies from girls who could type, and one from a young man with an honours degree in estate management, fluent in French and computers, and with an excellent knowledge of the stud book and form book. No prizes for guessing who got the job, and yet this young man had been trying to get a job in racing for quite some time, Needless to say he was not a secretary for long, and went on to have a successful career trading stallion shares and nominations on his own account.
2. Dirty Hands
If you can tolerate long hours, bad weather, and broken fingernails (at best) you will be rewarded by the pleasure of close companionship with one of the most beautiful and noble animals on earth. There is always a job for someone who is prepared to work hard and use their intelligence at the same time. Travel to different continents, see as much as you can of all aspects of the business, and after a few years you will have accumulated sufficient knowledge to be worth employing.
I had a lot of good young people who started at Adstock and Juddmonte, but the best always stood out from day one. Ted Voute checked the mares while the others went to the pub. Look where he is now. Simon Mockeridge was always a class act, and has had an enviable career at Juddmonte.
You can do it!