Article from SMH below.
Court ruling spells change ahead for those who deal in bloodstock Craig Young
March 12, 2012
After a court judgment that has trainer John O'Shea considering his future in the racing industry, John Schreck felt compelled to weigh in.
The former Australian Jockey Club and Hong Kong Jockey Club chief steward has warned ''there could be great changes ahead for those who deal in racehorses''. Schreck knows racing like few others.
Last Monday, the Court of Appeal ordered O'Shea to pay $500,000 in court costs and damages in addition to his legal fees after owner Humberto Vieira had taken O'Shea to court. The case centred on Vieira's 70 per cent stake in O'Shea's $330,000 Magic Millions buy Dashere. X-rays and a clinical inspection carried out by the Randwick Equine Centre classed the colt as ''low risk with time'' due to a cystic lucency in his near stifle.
The court found that O'Shea's recommendation to buy the horse constituted a breach of contract.
''No one would ever or should ever argue that it's wrong to 'doll' up a horse cosmetically for sale,'' Schreck wrote to the Herald. ''Likewise no one would argue that emphasising a horse's strong points is a legitimate tool in the selling process. To conceal a latent defect is, I reckon, fraudulent. So is, say, sedating a horse to make him more appealing.''
And it happens all the time. Think of yearlings being prepared for the sale ring. In recent times, Schreck has been buying and selling horses but it has never been his main source of income.
''Like a lot of things in my life, I wish I could go back and do things a bit different,'' he said. ''Some I've been involved in selling have been an absolute embarrassment.''
Schreck believes ''there is a real issue for all those who sell horses'' and is adamant ''they have to work within a set of ethical standards''. Therein lines another problem.
''Where the line is drawn between what is acceptable and what is improper is hard to find,'' he said. ''There is not much by way of absolute in selling horses.''
In light of the finding against O'Shea, why would anyone want to sell a horse? More so a trainer who finds one at a yearling sale, buys it himself, hoping to sell it later.
There is no such thing as the perfect racehorse. They have defects. Black Caviar might be unbeaten, a wonder horse, but trainer Peter Moody knows she has had issues. She has been deftly managed.
''There are no horse-selling officials to check on every deal that's done,'' Schreck said. ''The racing game is played by all sorts and can be a tough, selfish business. Let's be fair dinkum, greed is everywhere in our sport. And if the need is great enough, some selfish sellers tend to forget ethics.''
O'Shea bought and sold a horse which was ''low risk with time''. What about the high-risk ones that have been bought and sold? The borderline ones?
''Horse dealers have been taking advantage of horse buyers since horse commerce began,'' Schreck said. ''Let's not kid ourselves, the fact is that abuse in horse sales is not uncommon. Sellers profit from their misdeeds and, regrettably, innocent buyers are the ones hurt. I would like to be able to look at a young horse and find faults that might cause it to go lame. Faults are not necessarily unsoundness, they may be predisposed to many lameness problems that would not otherwise occur.''
What one sees in a horse another does not. It's all in the eye of the beholder, and then you've got the old line about buyer beware. What happens next? A racehorse breaks down and the owner demands his money back?
''Bone chips are found in the knee of a horse, and the owners immediately wants their investment returned,'' Schreck said. ''It goes on and on. Where does it end? In court, and O'Shea is the fall guy. The racing industry should be concerned.'
Read mo http://www.smh.com.au/sport/horseracing/court-ruling-spells-change-ahead-for-those-who-deal-in-bloodstock-20120311-1usfo.html#ixzz1p5FbwS86