Around the Ridges: Trainer in ownership drama

Victorian trainer Ciaron Maher, left, has become embroiled in controversy.
Victorian trainer Ciaron Maher, left, has become embroiled in controversy.

Leading young Victorian trainer Ciaron Maher who has won a string of big races including last year’s $3 million Caulfield Cup and this year’s $1.5 million BMW could lose his licence later this month after deciding to plead guilty to a charge under rule 175 which relates to conduct prejudicial to the image, interests or welfare of racing.

Maher said he had, “Erred by focusing too much on his horses rather than broader implications with the result the matter had taken considerable strain, on himself, his staff and his owners”.

It all feeds back to the ownership of horses one of which is Azkadellia who won last year’s $1 million dollar Group 1 the Coolmore Queen of the Turf Stakes.

Stewards allege Maher and his racing manager Ben Connelly concealed the ownership of the winning mare and other horses that really belong to convicted conman Peter Foster.

 About 12 months ago Racing Victoria Stewards banned four horses, one of which was Azkadellia, from racing and commenced an inquiry over the ownership of the horses which has ended up with Mr Maher’s guilty plea last week.

Stewards had become suspicious when Connolly had purchased Azkadellia for a meager $60,000 in August 2015. A mare with her record and breeding would bring in excess of $1 million in today’s markets. Reports are saying before she was registered in Connolly’s name, records show she was owned by Arabella Racing whose CEO was once Foster’s niece Arabella Foster.

Apparently ownership was later transferred to a company owned by a Canadian named Thomas Sebastian Cain who in an earlier life, according to reports, was known as  Matthew Thomas Reed a gentleman who had once been sentenced to 12 years for smuggling drugs from Canada to Australia. In the same article it was alleged Cain and Foster had met while spending time in a Brisbane jail.

According to reports over the years Foster has led an interesting life.

While in Britain many years ago he became friends with pop singer Samantha Fox and the Duchess of York and persuaded them to recommend his Bai Lin Tea which according to the “Spruik” would enable ladies to lose lots of weight quickly (he made a fortune).

It has also been reported he had been invited to tea several times with the English prime minister of the time Tony Blair and his wife.

At the present time Foster is facing fraud charges relating to an online gambling business called Sports Trading Company.

Again according to reports, investors pumped several million into the scheme which claimed it could predict winners in sports events. The Trading Company claimed it showed 1350% profit in eight months.

A wife and her husband go to his 50th high school reunion. After meeting some of his friends they are sitting at a table where she’s yawning and looking bored.

The band starts up and people begin to dance. There’s a lady on the dance floor. She starts break dancing, moon walking, back flips, buying drinks for everyone.

Husband turns to his wife and says, “See that woman. Fifty years ago she asked me to marry her and I turned her down”.

Wife says, “Looks like she’s still celebrating”.