Mark Flower has offered to train horses for free.

The Jevington handler is among a majority who have to get by with either a dozen or 20 horses while other have more than 100 in their care.

But Flower sees his plan as part of his survival kit.

He has posted details of the special deal on his website ( in which he will train any of the two-year-olds he has for sale for free to anyone who wants to buy them.

He gives the same offer to any owner sending a two-year-old to the yard.

Flower, who ran a successful art gallery and has a shrewd commercial sense, reckons the risk is worth taking.

He said: "It is what is described as a loss-leader, but it will save a purchaser £3,000 on a quarter's training fees and I hope and believe it will encourage some new owners into racing.

"There are six nice young horses, all 'cheapies' between £2,000 and £6,000, whose images in colour are on the website and I would be happy to sell outright or set up a partnership or syndicate for any one of them."

Flower is understandably looking out for himself but, as a lover of horses who has been involved with racing all his life, he is concerned about the future of the industry at large.

He said:"Current statistics show that new owners coming into racing are down by seven per cent this year.

"This is the biggest drop for at least four years and the number of companies getting involved is down by 13 per cent."

He pointed out that the number of horses balloted out of races because there are too many entries has increased on the flat and over the jumps by "an enormous percentage".

He said: "It is a problem that the racing authorities, BHB and the Jockey Club, has spent a great deal of money on the 'Discover Racing' initiative to attract people to come racing and into ownership.

"But they don't point out that modestly priced horses, which are likely to prove moderate and therefore difficult to place to win, will struggle to get on the racecourse for a run."

More than 10,000 entry fees were returned to owners last year as their horses failed to qualify.

Flower said: "The fact is that while 'Discover Racing' is encouraging new entrants to the sport, the authorities are not catering for the bottom end of the handicap which is the vast majority of horses."

He appreciates that criticism should be constructive and he puts forward a couple of ideas.

"Perhaps a horse that has been balloted out three times in succession could be guaranteed a run at his next attempt.

"But even better, would be an 'upside down' handicap as practised in Ireland."

In this system, it is the horses at the top of the handicap which are eliminated, while the lowest ones are guaranteed a run.

Arena Leisure, which runs Britain's three all-weather tracks, has given some thought to the proposition, but the problem is complex and not easily solved.

Flower has proved he can train winners and is determined he will not join the list of trainers which leaves the profession every year.

He is backed by his wife Alyson, a wizard at equine physiotherapy, and a great team of lads at Jevington.

One of the many attractions of racing is the uncertainty. A six-figure sum spent on a horse guarantees nothing, but from time to time cheap horses turn up trumps.

Flower is a shrewd judge of a yearling and is delighted with the way the youngsters have progressed over the winter He is also a determined man and he believes his 'train free for three months' is a winning formula.