Case Study

John O’Shea – Value of Transparency

Protection offered to racehorse owners by the Trainer Connections ownership model was never demonstrated more vividly than through the recent legal case involving leading Sydney horse trainer John O’Shea. Mr O’Shea was hit with a $500,000 damages bill after losing a case in the NSW Court of Appeal in 2012 as a result of being sued by a former owner.

The owner, Mr Humberto Vieira had asked the trainer to act on his behalf to seek a majority share in a yearling at the 2007 Magic Millions sale that was “low risk” in terms of its soundness. The horse chosen by Mr O’Shea, a colt subsequently named Dashere (by Dehere) had been identified prior to the sale as having a cyst on its left stifle. A veterinary examination of X-Rays provided at the sale to Mr O’Shea led to advice from the Randwick Equine Centre’s Dr Humberstone that if purchased, the horse should not be pressured for at least six months in order to obviate any ongoing problems with the leg.

Notwithstanding this advice, Mr O’Shea went ahead with the purchase and failed to inform the owner of the presence of the cyst or the recommendation given by the Veterinary Surgeon. The Court found that Mr O’Shea should have advised Mr Vieira of the horse’s condition prior to purchasing it and that he had breached his contract with the owner.

Under the Trainer Connections ownership model, this series of events could not have occurred. Where a trainer asks Trainer Connections to assist him/her in filling ownership of a horse, a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is produced and supplied to every potential owner, prior to them committing to purchase. All material details about the horse, including its purchase price at the sales (with no mark-up permitted), its breeding, physical condition and a detailed estimate of the likely training costs for the ensuing twelve month period. Included as an Annexure to this PDS is a Veterinary Certificate which clearly states any afflictions the horse may have at the time the shares are being offered for sale.

The production of this PDS and the method of establishing the financial arrangements between Owners and their Trainer are fundamental to the transparency strived for in the Trainer Connections model. For further details, speak to Craig Tognolini by phoning 1300 21 21 11.

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