A well-known County Durham horse trainer has claimed she is owed more than £20,000, and may be forced to sell a number of racehorses due to the 'collapse' of syndicate.

Rebecca Menzies, a trainer based at Howe Hills farm in Sedgefield, has outlined a “very sad situation” with Breath of Fresh Air (BOFA) racing syndicate. Ms Menzies says that the syndicate has collapsed, and still owes her £20,000 in training fees.

According to the Racehorse Ownership Association, a racing syndicate or club “offers a cost-effective way to experience the heart of racing action”.

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A syndicate is a form of shared ownership where multiple members own, or lease, an interest in one or more racehorses and make a financial contribution to their purchase in return for legal or equitable title to the horse. Additionally, members contribute to the horse’s cost.

The hefty sum is unlikely to be paid, meaning a number of horses may have to be sold. Odd Socks Havana and Major Snugfit “could be bought and re-syndicated”, whereas You Name Him will be sold out of the yard. Shearer’s Girl, who was leased “will remain in [Rebecca’s] care with a new lease”.

Making a statement on Facebook, Ms Menzies wrote: “I have recently been notified that BOFA are insolvent and have been forced to close.

“Rebecca Menzies Racing Ltd are owed in excess of £20,000 in training fees from the syndicate managers, and I have been advised... to sell the horses in order to partially settle the debts.

“Although it is hugely disappointing especially taking into account the success we have had together on the track, I have been forced to take action to recover some of the money owed.”

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"It's entirely possible that Odd Socks Havana and Major Snugfit could be bought and re-syndicated in the future to allow those who were previously involved to have an opportunity to do so again.

"You Name Him will be sold out of the yard and Shearer's Girl (who was leased) will remain in my care with a new lease.

"I understand the anger and frustration that some of you have and I'd like to request that this is not aimed at my employees nor myself.

"It's a very sad and very avoidable situation and I'm sure lessons have been learned all round.

"This situation has caused significant stress and upset and I would like to personally thank on behalf of Team Menzies, our owners and supporters who have provided guidance and assistance during a difficult couple of weeks.

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"I am lucky to be working with some other fantastic syndicates and I really appreciate the strong working relationships we have with them."

The trainer has earned nearly £2 million from her racehorses on the flat in the last few seasons – earmarking her as a top northern trainer.

Other clients jumped to the defence of Rebecca and her team, saying they have “impeccable standards, morals, and work ethic”, and that the situation had been handles “with great dignity.”