Tamarisk's former owners cancel trip.
More than 40 people associated with the Highclere Thoroughbreds syndicate, which owned the colt, have decided to pull out of their intended trip to Churchill Downs this week.
As the latest batch of yearling hopefuls paraded at Highclere Castle yesterday, one of the devastated owners summed up the feeling of fellow members, saying: "We feel cheated."
Preferring to go unnamed in public, he added: "We've been robbed of a lifetime's experience by a bizarre decision. For no good reason the handicappers have ruled out a horse who has been ultra-consistent in the highest class in Europe on the basis of one prep race."
Tamarisk was sold to Coolmore Stud for pounds 3.5million after his Haydock Sprint Cup win, and the new management team directed him to the States for dirt-track acclimatisation. He went into training with D Wayne Lukas and finished last at Keeneland on October 17, on which the decision to exclude him from Saturday's race seems to have been based.
Highclere syndicate manager Harry Herbert said yesterday: "The irony is that a day or two before we were told Tamarisk wasn't in the Sprint, he'd done the fastest piece of work over five furlongs that morning at Churchill Downs, so it looks as if he handled the dirt track. That wasn't the issue at Keeneland, it was lack of fitness."
Herbert added: "You don't get dealt many cards like Tamarisk, and it's a great shame that the opportunity for his owners to experience the Breeders' Cup, and to see their horse racing in the US, has been denied them."
nDELILAH, second in the Perpetual St Simon Stakes, will leave Britain today, bound for next week's Keeneland sales.