Group 1 Winner Azkadellia’s True Ownership Investigated
It is tough to pull the wool over the eyes of hyper-vigilant Racing Victoria stewards, who are doggedly pursuing the investigation to determine the true owner of Azkadellia.
The five-year-old brown mare by Ireland’s Shinko King and New Zealand’s Raving has not been allowed to race since early September since questions about the true owners have clouded her bonafides.
Caulfield based trainer Ciaron Maher is certain, but the last race the horse competed in was the Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara at Flemington in June of 2016, where she finished second. Azkadellia won the Group 1 Queen of the Turf at Randwick in April.
This is not some nag from the bush that has been banned; this is a legitimate Group 1 contender, so the question of her true owners will determine whether she can get back on the course before her age precludes her racing again.
Her owner is listed as Ben Connolly, but in the eyes of the investigators, Connolly may be a front to hide the connection to Arabella Foster, the niece of convicted fraud perpetrator Peter Foster.
Head Steward of Racing Victoria Terry Bailey is engaging in some clamourous sabre-rattling over the affair, talking about not only permanently disqualifying Azkadellia, but forcing her owner or owners to return her prizemoney, although ownership must be conclusively established before the refund invoice can be posted.