RACING: Aga Khan ends four-year boycott

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The Independent Online
The Aga Khan's boycott of British racing, which has deprived racegoers of seeing many of Europe's top thoroughbreds, threatened the livelihoods of two leading trainers and cost the jobs of dozens of stable staff, is to end next year.

The four-year withdrawal by one of the world's leading racehorse owners began when the Aga's filly Aliysa was disqualified from first place in the 1989 Oaks, because traces of a metabolite of the banned substance, camphor, were found in her system.

The Aga refused to accept that the testing procedures carried out by the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory at Newmarket met the highest international standards and pulled out all his horses stabled in Britain. The 90 horses had been trained at Newmarket byMichael Stoute and Luca Cumani.

Yesterday the Jockey Club announced new dope-testing procedures which result in Britain operating the same regime as Ireland and France, where the Aga has continued to race and stable his valuable thoroughbreds.

The Aga, announcing that he will race in Britain from next year and have horses in training here from 1996, said: "I am confident that any outstanding questions I may have will be satisfactorily addressed in a continuing atmosphere of mutual trust. I am extremely pleased to renew my family's long history of racing in Britain which has extended over nearly 80 years."

The Aga, who won three Derbys in the Eighties with Shergar, Shahrastani and Kahyasi, has had little success at the highest level since transferring his horses from Newmarket to France and Ireland at the end of 1990 and he has paid a high price for his stand.

British racing has also suffered in losing the patronage of an owner whose racing and breeding stock is surpassed only by that of the Maktoum family of Dubai.

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