Major racing and breeding operation Aquis Farm is stop racing horses in Queensland immediately amid concerns over the integrity of the sport in the state leading into the winter carnival.
Aquis is a major investor in Queensland racing and has naming rights to the Gold Coast racetrack among other sponsorships.
Chief executive of the Aquis Group, Shane McGrath issued a statement on Thursday expressing the company’s concerns over ongoing issues in Queensland.
“Following a meeting of the board of directors of the Aquis Farm Group in Sydey today. at the conclusion of the Easter Sale, the decision has been taken that where Aquis Farm is the managing owner of a horse it owns wholly or partially, it will not race that horse in Queensland until a number of integrity issues concerning Queensland racing are fully resolved to ensure a level playing field for all participants,” McGrath said.
“As a consequence, Aquis Farm will be directing the scratching of all its runners nominated for Queensland races effective immediately.
“Where Aquis Farm is a part-owner of a horse and are unable to control whether it races or not, due to it not being the managing owner, the board of directors has determined that Aquis Farm will donate the share of any prizemoney generated by said horse to a nominated charity.”
Owned by the Hong Kong-based Fung family, Aquis also has a base in the NSW Hunter Valley and has interests in high profile horses including Sunlight, Fundamentalist and Houtzen.
Queensland racing has been rocked by the ongoing inquiry surrounding trainer Ben Currie who is facing serious charges involving jiggers, positive swabs and a raid on his Toowoomba stable a year ago.
The drawn-out judicial process means Currie has continued to train on stays of proceedings and adjournments with only some of the charges heard in camera.
He has another stay extension application next Thursday in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.