Sunbury horseman Ahmed Taiba's hopes of getting a top racehorse have been crushed. His harness racing dreams came shattering down when his pride and joy - 13 win pacer Ghadasbest had to be put down on the morning of January 8.
But the 37-year-old is not doing anything too rash and will hold off making any rushed decisions until his lawyers have heard the outcome of Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) decision regarding the running of $20,000 New Year Sprint at Melton's Tabcorp Park on January 7.
"My horse was butchered in that race. I was in the inquiry room until midnight and HRV stewards haven't made their decision regarding what penalties will be handed down.
"I took my horse home and then the next morning I took him to the Ballarat vet Clinic. That's when the head surgeon told it was the worst injury he had ever seen. He said there was a less than five per cent survival rate and that's why I had to have him put down.
"I was gutted. I'm still distraught. This horse meant everything to me. I named him after my late mother (Ghada). I had taken my time with him. He's only had 32 starts in four years and recently I turned down $150,000. He was special - a part of the family and now because of illegal driving and an illegal sulky he's dead," Taiba said.
Taiba was referring to the new American heavy weight sulky used by Lance Justice, who was driving the pace-making Coastal. The sulky, as Taiba puts it, butchered his 5-year-old's leg in the home straight.
"I was the meat in the sandwich, said Taiba who was driving the son of. I had every right to keep my horse in a straight line in the passing lane but when Karlsruhe and David Moran came up the inside they forced me onto that American sulky. My horse went straight up in the air in a heap of pain.
"The blames now rests with the HRV stewards decision and then what my lawyers come up with. Many drivers have said the passing lane is poorly designed - and now this is proof of exactly that. There was just no room and now because of negligent driving as well, the best horse I have ever trained no longer exists," Taiba said.
"And this was a class race. These were top horses with top drivers aboard," he added.
He said the American type sulky used by Justice was so big and heavy it should be banned in Australia and New Zealand. The weight he said allowed for extra speed when horses were in full flight.
"They are used in America because they race differently to us and race a lot in single file and don't race in such cramped quarters. They might be successful in the Northern Hemisphere but they will continue to slaughter and cause death down here.
"They must be banned and that's exactly what my lawyers will be fighting for."
Ghadasbest, who had recorded a 1:55.9 mile rate had won 13 of his 32 starts and was placed in nine others for $156,975. He was going to take on the guns in this year's Hunter and Victoria Cups before going full on against the open class pacers next season.
"I worked tirelessly and patiently to get this fella where he was today and then some HRV Board member, who I won't name just yet, tells me to get over it. ‘It's just another racing incident, he said.' That comment made my blood fume because the horse meant a great deal to my family.
"He had huge sentimental value to our family, especially my 88-year-old father because I named him after Mum. Family members were at the races that night and it was an ugly sight for my 4-year-old nephew to see his favourite horse covered in blood. It's something he'll never forget," Taiba said.
He said he would now await the HRV steward's decision on the race and then immediately get his lawyers involved.
"This is gut-wrenching. I work 10 horses at Sunbury and none of them had the potential this fella had. In fact he was the best I'd ever trained. I just feel like chucking it all away and looking elsewhere for employment. To say I'm angry is a huge understatement," Taiba said.
Ghadasbest's death came almost exactly one year to the day after one of his most memorable wins.
Harness Racing Australia reported the talented pacer's win in this fashion...
It is a long way from Sunbury to Maitland but the trip proved a profitable one for trainer Ahmed Taiba after his exciting 4yo Ghadasbest easily won the $40,000 Inner City Pace Final on Saturday Night.By Duane RANGER (editor)
Running his last quarter 27.1, which is unheard of around the tight Maitland track, Ghadasbest scored comfortably from Fair Blazing with Internationalplayboy third.
Ghadasbest is sparingly raced with his victory on Saturday Night his eight win from only15 career starts. He has also been placed 5 times, one of those a 3rd placing in the 2008 Australasian Breeders Crown 2yo Colts and Geldings final to Captain Joy.
Ghadasbest is by the underratedstallion . Initially based in New Zealand but now standing at Empire Stallions in Victoria, is the sire of two Breeders Crown champions in One Dream and Baileys Dream.
In fact, Ghadasbest is bred on the same cross as Baileys Dream, being out of a Smooth Fella mare in Bayliner. A half sister to Chariots of Fire winner Beefy T, Bayliner has produced 3 winners from 7 foals of racing age.
Taiba purchased Ghadasbest at the 2007 Sydney APG Sale for only $13,000 and has since returned to connections more than $114,000 in earnings ~ a tidy profit.
The race incident video
The Maitland Race