Racing Victoria spokesman Shaun Kelly added: “RV stewards formed the view that until such time as they receive an order from a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction declaring the ownership of Azkadellia, they would not be in a position to determine the bonafides of the ownership and therefore consider lifting the embargo.”
Azkadellia has not raced since June 25, 2016, when she ran second in the group 1 Tatt’s Tiara.
But the new owner is confident he could prove his credentials.
“Based on my understanding of the process, I can’t see any reason why she shouldn’t be allowed to race,” he told The Age.
“I have no contact with the man [Peter Foster] or his representatives. I don’t know him, I don’t want to know him.
“The first point is to see if she can race. If she can race then I’ll start talking to the state racing bodies or the relevant ones to see if she can.”
Sources familiar with the situation told The Age that former trainer Ciaron Maher had kept the mare in terrific condition in the hope of her one day resuming her racing career.
Azkadellia was sold at an Echuca auction in late September for $615,000 to a client of agent Sheamus Mills, but that sale fell through, with representatives of Ciaron Maher Racing contacting the current owner about a week later to seek his interest.
The owner, who has never owned a racehorse or broodmare before, was aware up to three months before the Echuca auction that Azkadellia would be for sale and said he had done his research before deciding to bid on the mare at Echuca. He was an unsuccessful bidder on the day.
The owner’s main intention is to breed from the 2016 Queen Of The Turf winner, but if he receives advice that she’s sound enough to not only return to the track but be competitive at the elite level then he plans on applying for her return to racing.
“She’s just got up to NSW and they [two trainers] have just started looking at her,” he said.
“They’ll have a look at her and I should know by the end of next week what’s happening.
“I haven’t applied for her to race yet but once I have a trainer telling me she’s more than capable of not just racing but doing well, I’ll make an application straight away to register as the owner for racing purposes.”
The owner said he was deciding between the two Sydney trainers as to who would get the opportunity to train the former star mare.
Meanwhile, William Duffy – the man claiming to be the original owner of Azkadellia – and Grant Madgwick – the trustee of the Ben Connolly Racing Trust – have filed a notice of discontinuance in the Supreme Court of Queensland against Maher, Mills, Echuca auctioneer Andrew Wilson and Maher’s lawyer John Gdanski after lodging a $20 million civil suit against the Caulfield trainer in September.
William Dawson, racing manager of the Ben Connolly Racing Trust, told The Age he would be taking over as trustee from Madgwick, who has resigned “as he is seriously ill”.
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.