How Much Do Trainers Really Make?

Depending on where you sit, racing trainers either appear to be poor as church mice or living in luxury. The Racing Post’s Stuart Riley embarked on a project earlier this year to learn more about what British trainers can actually expect to take home each month. As it turns out, there is no one solid answer that applies to all trainers and a lot of it comes down to their training fees.

There are four main categories of costs that trainers incur. The first, and most costly, is staff, which Riley estimates accounts for more than 40% of running costs for most trainers in the UK. The other three categories include variables such as feed, hay, bedding and medication; fixed overheads such as rent or mortgage repayments; and incidentals.

“I provide free accommodation and pay my lads £500 ($676.65) a week,” A Newmarket trainer said to Riley. “They start at 6am and finish at 11.20am. They come back for an hour and three-quarters in the afternoon and are done in the yard by 6pm. I’ve got 30 horses and six full-time staff, the rest are part-timers. It’s £20 ($27.07) a lot for a good part-time rider, so if they do three lots that’s £60 ($81.20).”

that trainer’s estimated monthly costs for his 30-horse yard are £35,000 ($47,365.47), which doesn’t account for travel or extra staffing costs to races.

The four main ways a trainer makes money are prize money shares, training fees, buying and selling horses, and transportation.

Many people think that most of a trainer’s earnings comes from the prize money since race purses are known for getting into the millions, but that’s not the reality for most trainers. Most trainers in the UK get a little less than 10% of winning prize money and only a little under 6% of placing prize money in a country where most races have purses closer to five figures. This amount alone would not be enough to keep an operation afloat.

There are trainers who can make a decent amount of their income from buying and selling horses as well as having a small transportation business on the side, but Riley found the biggest part of a trainer’s bottom line is their training fees. These can range anywhere from £30 ($40.60) a day per horse up to £90 ($121.80), but the most trainers do not advertise what they charge. For a 30-horse yard, A trainer charging £40 ($54.13) a day, would make a £8,000 ($10,826.39) monthly profit, but on ly on the cost of basic daily operations – racing costs and incidentals eat into that quickly.


The Paulick Report examined business models for U.S. trainers in 2019 and found that for many, day rates don’t carry much profit margin thanks to workman’s comp insurance, payroll costs and startup costs for new trainers. Read that story here.




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