Trainer Elliott - 'I never spoke with the owner in CAB horse dispute'
Aintree Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott has appeared in court as a witness after the CAB seized one of his stable's former stars.
The CAB claims that Labaik, the winner of the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, was bought with the proceeds of crime by drug dealer John Boylan.
The CAB told the High Court that an examination of Mr Boylan's finances showed a discrepancy of €750,000 between his income and his expenditure.
This was contested by Mr Boylan, of Rathcoole, Co Dublin, who said his earnings were not the proceeds of crime.
Mr Boylan (32), who is resisting the CAB's efforts to gain his assets, has brought his own proceedings against the CAB.
He is claiming losses arising out of an injury sustained by Labaik when it was raced at Punchestown after the CAB gained control of its passport. He said he had planned to sell the horse after its Cheltenham success when its value increased, but the sale had to be aborted after CAB seized the passport.
The court heard last week that Mr Elliott and bloodstock agent Aidan O'Ryan, neither of whom has any connections with criminality, each took a 5pc interest in the horse when it was bought in 2016.
It is Mr Boylan's case that the horse should not have run in Punchestown, and that as 90pc owner, the decision should have been his.
However, the CAB said the decision to race the horse was taken by Mr Elliott and that this was allowed to stop the asset depreciating. It also said the injury to Labaik was as likely to happen during training as it was during a race.
Mr Elliott, who at the weekend trained Tiger Roll to back-to-back successes in the Grand National, said it was his decision to run at Punchestown.
He said he had never had any direct dealings with Mr Boylan, but agreed with his assertion that Labaik was a "quirky horse" who would not run all the time.
On Mr Boylan's view that the Punchestown race was not suitable for the horse, Mr Elliott said "everyone has an opinion".
On the horse's injuries, Mr Elliott said: "I could not guarantee that he will ever come back 100pc."
Asked to put a value on the horse, Mr Elliott said it would have been worth about €150,000 before Cheltenham.
"I would have valued him after the Supreme Novice at €250,000-€300,000, but as for now, I'm not saying he is worthless, but not very much."
Ms Justice Stewart has reserved judgment in the case.