Australia: Star mare to lose prize-money due to fraudster link
Azkadellia: successful at Group 1 level earlier this year
PICTURE: Getty Images Mare to lose prize-money due to fraudster link By Peter Scargill 3:33PM 19 DEC 2016
Australia: A Group 1-winning mare is set to be stripped of over A$1.5 million in prize-money (£880,000) after links were discovered between the horse and a convicted fraudster.
Azkadellia is alleged to be owned by serial fraudster Peter Foster, who hid his involvement from racing authorities for over two years by using a series of proxy owners.
These included Thomas Cain, who was convicted in 2007 of attempting to smuggle cocaine and ecstasy valued at A$211 million (£124m) into Australia from Canada when he was known as Matthew Reed. Cain and Foster are believed to have met when serving time together in Brisbane jail.
Most recently Azkadellia was listed as being owned solely by Ben Connolly, racing manager for trainer Ciaron Maher, who purchased her for A$60,000 from Cain before funnelling A$500,000 in prize-money back to Foster, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Stewards at Racing Victoria had reopened an investigation in September into Foster's potential involvement in Azkadellia, who is currently banned from racing, while Connelly has been taking a leave of absence from Maher's stable while the investigation takes place.
Foster has been jailed in Australia, the USA, Vanuatu and Britain. In 2002 he was revealed to have assisted Cherie Blair, wife of the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, in the purchase of two flats in Bristol at a discount price, something Cherie Blair publicly apologised for.