Weatherbys is a privately owned English company, established 1770, and currently based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. The company provides British horse racing with its central administration under contract to the British Horseracing Authority, acts as its bank and maintains the Thoroughbred breed register.
|Founded||1770, 250 years ago|
Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England
Number of locations
Number of employees
James Weatherby was appointed to serve the Jockey Club as its Secretary and stakeholder in 1770. He was an able and entrepreneurial man and over the next 25 years laid strong foundations for the business.
Under his aegis, his first racing calendar was published in 1773, followed, in 1791, by the publication of The General Stud Book, a definitive record of the pedigrees of approximately 400 horses which became the foundation for all thoroughbred bloodstock worldwide. He was assisted in this by his nephew, whose work on racehorse pedigrees dovetailed neatly with James's racing work.
For the next 250 years, Weatherbys has continued in the role of administrators to the Jockey Club. Today, every data detail relating to horses, owners, trainers, jockeys, stable employees and races is processed through Weatherbys. All of the 10,500 Thoroughbred races held in Britain each year are drawn together at the company's Northamptonshire HQ. The firm still owns and publishes the General Stud Book, recording the production of thoroughbred bloodstock in Britain and Ireland.
There has been diversification.
Into printing – the Racing Calendar, racecourse racecards and even publications entirely divorced from racing and breeding form an impressive portfolio. Into laboratory testing - with Weatherbys owning one of Europe's most prestigious genomic-testing facilities for equine and agricultural stock.
And into banking.
There was always the handling of money. From the guineas of 18th century aristocrats to more than £160m of prize money in 2018, the role of “Stakeholder” has always remained vested in Weatherbys.
For the principal participants in the sport, Weatherbys offered accounting facilities. Holding their winnings to fund their future race entries. By the 1980s, the firm was effectively offering racehorse owners a current account alongside an option for short-term borrowing. Discussions with the Bank of England in 1994 resulted in Weatherbys acquiring a banking licence and the founding of their banking division.
For the first few years, Weatherbys Bank served its traditional client cohort – racehorse owners, breeders, trainers and a payroll office for jockeys. The banking licence enabled a full suite of financial offerings. Clients had chequebooks, debit cards, loans, term deposits and foreign exchange services.
In 1997, Arkle Asset Finance, a 100% subsidiary of Weatherbys Bank, was established to provide commercial asset finance services. By 2006, Weatherbys Bank was ready to develop into Weatherbys Private bank and Weatherbys Racing Bank. An office was opened in central London, and Weatherbys Private Bank was devised with wealth criteria applying, but Thoroughbred connection for clients removed. Weatherbys Bank continued to provide services for those engaged in racing and breeding, with approximately 10,000 owners, trainers and jockeys on the books today. The majority of Weatherbys Private Bank's clients are now unconnected to racing.
In 2012, the insurance broking business, Weatherbys Hamilton was constituted as a partnership with a number of partners providing brokerage services for bloodstock, property and liability insurance.
In 2020, it will be 250 years since the Jockey Club appointed James Weatherby effectively as its secretary The firm has prospered since and remains in family ownership. Johnny and Roger Weatherby, the seventh generation of the family, run the company today - an unbroken history of family ownership for 249 years.
The Racing Division -Edit
Weatherbys Ltd The founding company which today is primarily responsible for providing racing services to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), along with racecard production, pedigree research, printing, publishing, marketing and ticketing services to a range of clients.
Weatherbys GSB Ltd Responsible for General Stud Book registrations, administration and publishing in Great Britain. 100% subsidiary of Weatherbys Ltd.
The Point-to-Point Racing Company Ltd In 2010, half of the business was bought by the Point-to-Point Authority and this shared ownership (Weatherbys/PPA) remains in place. Provides publishing, administrative and editorial services to the sport of Point-to-point (steeplechase) horse racing in Great Britain.
Weatherbys Ireland Ltd Provides laboratory and other commercial services, largely to the Irish equine industry. Recently diversified to provide extensive DNA and genomic testing services to agricultural stock.
Weatherbys Ireland GSB Ltd Responsible for General Stud Book registrations, administration and publishing in Ireland. 100% subsidiary of Weatherbys Ltd.
The Banking Division -Edit
Weatherbys Private Bank provides banking services and investment & wealth advice to a wide range of private individuals. Authorised and regulated by the PRA and FCA the Bank has offices in London, Wellingborough and Edinburgh.
Weatherbys Racing Bank provides banking services to those engaged in horse racing. Authorised and regulated by the PRA and FCA, employees are based in Wellingborough HQ.
Arkle Finance Ltd Incorporated in 1997 to provide commercial asset finance services. 100% subsidiary of Weatherbys Bank.
Weatherbys Hamilton LLP Constituted as a partnership in 2012, drawing together 45% involvement from Weatherbys Bank Ltd and 50% from individual partners. Providing brokerage services for bloodstock, property and liability insurance. Offices in Wellingborough, London, Newmarket, Penrith and Swindon.
- Barrett, Norman, ed. (1995). The Daily Telegraph Chronicle of Horse Racing. Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Publishing.