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Charlton enters Tamarisk row.

TAMARISK's former trainer Roger Charlton yesterday spoke of his shock that the colt had been denied a run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, as the spotlight fell on his preparation while under the care of D Wayne Lukas in America.

The winner of Haydock's Group 1 Sprint Cup was denied a place in the $1 million Breeders' Cup contest by an international panel of handicappers on Wednesday because of his unplaced American debut on dirt at Keeneland, when his connections felt he needed the race.

Tamarisk had been due to run in the Churchill Downs spectacular a week tomorrow in the colours of the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing syndicate.

Charlton said: "I'm very disappointed, particularly for the Highclere members, and I feel that the circumstances of his denial of a place in the Breeders' Cup Sprint seem to have come about in a most unfortunate way.

"I find it very difficult to understand why he was left out, given that the horses are supposed to be selected on the basis of their ratings.

"But I also think we should remember the good things. He was a great servant to us and we will never forget his scintillating victory at Haydock."

Charlton met Lukas at the Tattersalls Houghton Sales in Newmarket just after Tamarisk flew out to America on September 29 and the pair discussed the colt's training regime.

It is understood that, at that stage, a prep

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race had not even been discussed and Lukas was advised that the colt was on course for the Breeders' Cup, but needed three weeks' preparation before the race.

Yet Lukas appears to have ignored any advice he was offered by Charlton and gave the colt only two pieces of work before Tamarisk finished last in an allowance race over an extended six furlongs at Keeneland on October 17.

Harry Herbert, manager of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, was keen not to attach any blame either to Lukas or to Nigel Gray, the British handicapper who sat on the Breeders' Cup selection panel.

Herbert described everyone involved with Tamarisk as "devastated", but added that the Keeneland race had been the only suitable race in which to run the colt before the Breeders' Cup.

He said: "He may have needed the run at Keeneland, but running him there on dirt was part of his preparation for the Breeders' Cup.

"If we had thought he would have been excluded from the Sprint on the basis of one run, we would no more have run him there than flown to the moon. It just didn't come into the equation.

"It's a mind-blowing decision, which sets an appalling precedent."

While Tamarisk was relegated to the reserves, the Jack Berry-trained Bolshoi gained a place in the Sprint.

Herbert said: "We wish Bolshoi all the very best, but Tamarisk is rated 5lb superior to him and is the leading three-year-old sprinter in Europe.

"We feel powerless, as we have been presented with a fait accompli and we have no appeal process to turn to.

"I'm sure Nigel Gray did his best, but his remarks that the horse 'didn't match up' on dirt and therefore Bolshoi 'should be given a shot' seem a bit weak."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Goff, Tom
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 30, 1998
Words:537
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