Hold your horses: Lawyer makes career out of the races

Katie Royals, 04/09/2019

Whether it be Ascot, Cheltenham or Newmarket, many of us have enjoyed a day or two at the races this summer. However far fewer make a career out of it. eprivateclient caught up with Andrew Chalk, one of the lucky few who grabbed the reins and has spent much of his working life focusing on the races.

Marlborough-based Mr Chalk is head of racing and bloodstock at 2019 eprivateclient Top Law Firm Royds Withy King and has been working in this “very lucrative and interesting niche” for approaching 40 years now.

Despite having clients all over the UK, US and even Australia, “it’s not the sort of work you find anywhere,” he explained and as a result there’s only about two other firms doing similar work in the country.

Some may question what kind of work a racing and bloodstock specialist looks for. Mr Chalk said the bulk of his work includes: agricultural and equestrian property transactions; specialist commercial agreements, including sponsorship agreements and ownership and syndications of racehorses and other bloodstock; and sports disciplinary and licensing cases.

Additionally, the Professional Jockeys Association, the Newbury-based trade association for jockeys, has been for much of his career and still remains one of his most important clients.  

He has been working with some of his clients for nearly his whole career, as he first discovered racing and bloodstock law when he was a newly qualified solicitor.  The practice he was working at undertook a lot of agriculture work and one of his superiors at the time also worked in racing.

Though not an avid horse rider or racer himself, Mr Chalk has always found the sport fascinating and is passionate about the bloodstock world.

“It’s a sport that has very strong literature that goes with it. It has a range of annuals and records and a well-documented history that I find interesting,” he said.

Therefore, it is not surprising that he jumped at the opportunity to work in this field and continued to specialise in it. He believes his knowledge and interest in the s...

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