Crocked Cheltenham winner seized by CAB on track to race again
Cheltenham-winning racehorse Labaik, which is at the centre of a High Court battle between the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and a convicted drugs dealer, has recovered from a serious injury and will run again soon.
A decision in the court case, in which Cab alleges that criminal John Boylan bought 90pc of the horse with the proceeds of crime, is expected to be given on Monday by Ms Justice Carmel Stewart.
Cab is likely to tell the judge, as a matter of courtesy, that Labaik is back in training and will return to the racecourse by the end of the year.
Trainer Gordon Elliott has reported that the horse is in good form and will be entered for a race at Fairyhouse in December.
At the end of a hearing of the case in April, Ms Justice Stewart reserved her judgment and ordered that Labaik's passport should remain with Cab until she announced her decision.
The court heard that Boylan, also known as John Power, of Forest Hills, Rathcoole, Co Dublin, has 67 criminal convictions, including two for drug offences.
During the April hearing, Boylan said it was a scandal- ous decision to run Labaik in the race in which the horse was injured and suggested it was like "10-year-olds playing football against 18-year-olds".
However, Mr Elliott said in response that, in his view, the horse was second or third favourite.
"There wasn't much between him and the other horses in the race," he added.
Boylan denied he had bought his 90pc share of the horse with the proceeds of crime.
The court was told Mr Elliott and bloodstock agent Aidan O'Ryan, neither of whom has any connection with criminality, each took a 5pc interest in the horse when it was bought at the sales in Doncaster in April 2016.
In two sworn affidavits to the court, Mr Elliott recounted how he and Mr O'Ryan decided to keep a 5pc interest each and the balance of the total cost - €23,850 - was paid, via bank transfer, by Boylan, who also paid training and upkeep fees of €40 a day.
In direct evidence, Mr Elliott told Ben O Floinn, counsel for Cab, that Labaik was "a bit quirky".
He said the horse had "a massive engine".
Mr Elliott added that he was a "very good horse when he jumped off but he had a quirk and was a bit of a boyo".
Labaik won the opening Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2017.