To call Fitzdares a gambling platform would be more than an understatement. Founded by Balthazar Fabricius – whose father was once Lord March's racecourse manager at Goodwood – it started trading in 2006 and is backed by Zac and Ben Goldsmith, who literally bought into their friend’s idea of creating “a very old-fashioned turf accountancy” for high-stakes punters. With the core values of discretion, knowledge and camaraderie, it traditionally only offers memberships only via personal referral, but until the end of August, it is taking general applications through its website for a limited number of places.
The company covers everything from horse racing to handball, boxing to badminton, and one of its major USPs is its brokers’ knowledge, with all members having a dedicated account manager. “If you spoke to a stockbroker who knew or cared little for financial markets it would be an underwhelming experience,” says Fabricius. “Likewise, a wine merchant who was not an expert in viticulture. Consumers now are not content with content – they want insights, and we are in the business of prediction. We are researchers, data scientists, veterans of odds compilation: custodians of a mathematical art.”
Those considering applying for membership of Fitzdares – which has been nominated for the Walpole Best British Luxury service alongside the likes of Claridge’s, Harrods, The Fat Duck and The Savoy – should also expect a lively social element: past events have included The White Turf races at St Moritz and Breeders’ Cup parties at The Savoy, while a cricket tournament in Rwanda is in the planning for October.
“We’re interested in bucket-list experiences, rather than just taking a box at a racecourse or a Premier League match,” explains Fabricius. “Not all events are sporting – it could be a private Eric Clapton concert in Soho for the Countryside Alliance. We’re in the leisure industry as much as the bookmaking industry, and our job is to enrich our members’ enjoyment of their leisure pursuits.”