Very few National Hunt owners make money but the Flat game is big business.
Breeding is the key with owners often prepared to spend small fortunes for well-bred young horses in the hope that the money will be recouped when the horse retires to stud after a successful racing career.
One example is the outstanding sire of recent years, Sadler's Wells, who covers about 200 mares a season, each at a reported fee of about £200,000.
That brings in about £40m a year to the Irish-based Coolmore Stud company which owns him.
Coolmore is one of the major players in Flat ownership, along with Godolphin, who cream off many of the best horses from Dubai's ruling family, who are themselves big-time owners.
Partnerships or syndicates, which issue individual shares in Flat racehorses, are often the only chance the ordinary punter has of competing with the big guys.