Australian Bloodstock director Jamie Lovett has launched an angry tirade against the German racing industry
Australian Bloodstock director Jamie Lovett has launched an angry tirade against the German racing industry and looks set to boycott future yearling sales
following the cancellation of a four-runner race at Cologne on Sunday, for which the Andreas Wohler-trained Revelstoke (Toronado) – who carries the same
Australian Bloodstock silks as Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) winner Protectionist (Monsun) – was due to be sent-off the hot favourite.
Lovett, who founded Australian Bloodstock with co-director Luke Murrell and whose
German-trained interests include last year’s Gold Cup (Gr 1, 2m4f) third Torcedor (Fastnet Rock), yesterday expressed his displeasure
following news that the 1400-metre contest had been scrapped, in line with a mandate afforded to German racecourses which allows for the
cancellation of potentially loss-making races,usually those with fewer than five runners.
Moreover, Lovett lambasted the efforts of the authorities to keep the contest, which was scheduled to be run for €5,100, claiming that Ronald Rauscher –
Australian Bloodstock’s European racing manager -was told proceedings would only go ahead if connections agreed to race for a prize-fund of zero.
Lovett labelled the move as ‘blackmail’ and ‘morally disgraceful’, while a statement issued by Eckhard Sauren, president of the Cologne Race Club, expressed his regret at the
cancellation of the contest but cited financial factors as the driving force behind the decision.
“The authorities contacted us on Tuesday via our European racing manager to say the race has attracted four entries and they were
happy to keep the race but only if we raced for no prize-money,” Lovett told ANZ Bloodstock News yesterday.
“I said that won’t be happening because, obviously, we have been supporters of German racing over many years and on more than one
occasion we’ve paid supplementary entries – we’ve never negotiated and we’ve just been happy to contribute.
“They then rang back and said if you don’t race for zero money we’ll just scrap the race. I
spoke to Andreas Wohler and he contacted Cologne and we thought there is no way they would do it.
“There have been numerous races in Germany this season that have only had four runners, which is not ideal, but it’s certainly
not the fault of connections. I found out later on they followed through with the threat and they’ve scrapped the race.”
The running of four-runner contests appears to have created a bone of contention, with these races seemingly having attracted five or more participants at the declaration
stage, only for the final field to be depleted by non-runners.
However, Lovett – who stands Protectionist at Gestut Rottgenunder under the Australian Bloodstock banner for a fee of €6,500 – did not hold back when surmising the situation at
Cologne authorities following Sunday race cancellation the weekend, which was set to see the return of Gran Criterium (Gr 2, 1500m) runner-up Revelstoke, a son of Swettenham
Stud shuttler Toronado (High Chaparral) who is plotting a path to the Mehl-Mülhens-Rennen (German 2,000 Guineas) (Gr 2, 1600m) back at Cologne on May 19.
“I think morally it’s disgraceful and given the horse’s preparation is aimed towards the German 2,000 Guineas, it throws this into disarray.
“I’m gobsmacked given I’ve never felt blackmailed by a racing club before, with them saying either race for nothing or we’ll pull the race. I thought the bloke was joking.
“On the world scale it’s not a big issue but in principle, for us, it is a big issue. We’re
quite slighted by it. They wonder why they’re in decline in Germany. For me, this sums up why their industry is in decline.”
Asked if this scenario is likely to influence Australian Bloodstock’s future investment in German racing, Lovett replied: “Absolutely
it will. I’ve got a group of investors who were keen to go to the sale at Baden Baden. We were obviously excited about the thought of seeing the Protectionist yearlings go through
the ring and supporting the sale and leaving yearlings on the ground in Europe, as we’ve done in the past.
By Chris Humpleby @anz_news