18th July 2021

A good win for Dr. Jim Walker’s Value Theory at Newmarket yesterday on her second start and it hopefully provides some consolation for the owner of Subjectivist that he has some nice two-year-olds to run and give him something to dream about now that his star is out of action. You may have noticed that many of Jim’s horses have names derived from his occupation as an economist. As I understand it, names like Austrian School, Austrian Theory, Natural Value, Subjective Value, Salamanca School, Praxeology, and maybe even Subjectivist come from the world of economics but it struct me that many of these terms and, in particular, ‘value theory’, could also be applied to the way I buy yearlings and maybe this is one of the things that has led to our successful association with Dr. Jim.

It needs to be remembered, when judging the success, or otherwise, of a buyer at the yearling sales, that the yearlings bought are not necessarily the ones the buyer wanted most but are, for some of us, the ones we could afford. That certainly applies to me and it is well publicised that I select yearlings first on pedigree and only look at those that meet our established criteria. Then, of the many hundreds which Charlie and I look at, some will be excluded on conformation, looks, or soundness but the vast majority will be followed to the ring because they could be worth buying at the right price. This is my ‘value theory’ and it has helped us buy many exceptionally good horses for very little money.

However, I still see plenty horses which I would consider good value at hundreds of thousands of pounds and well beyond my price range. I get the occasional one sent to me that falls into that bracket but for the most part I can only dream of training them and the many top class horses that have pedigree and looks but are clearly not good value. Nonetheless, I love the challenge of finding the value at all levels of the sales and get tremendous satisfaction when competing at the top level with horses bought cheaply for our owners.

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