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Vote causes upheaval at Munich racecourse

THE board at Munich racecourse was voted out of office at a rowdy and extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday evening, with a new board under Dietrich von Boetticher elected in its place.

President Dr. Norbert Poth had failed to win the members' support last September for his handling of the sale of racecourse property and a number of members had pressed him to resign or for new elections to take place.

Defeated by a narrow margin of 43-38, Dr. Poth makes way for Dietrich von Boetticher, who was president of the club for several years in the 1990s but has played little part since.

He does, however, have an extremely high profile as one of Germany's most successful owner-breeders, with Hurricane Run, Lope De Vega and Golden Lilac among his big-race winners.

They ran under the name of his stud Gestut Ammerland and were trained by Andre Fabre in Chantilly but he also has horses in training in Germany, including eight with Munich trainer Wolfgang Figge.

The mainissue was the parlous state of the club finances as the racecourse, like almost every other in Germany, operates at a loss.

However, one advantage the club has is ownership of the land on which the racecourse is situated, including training grounds spanning 100 acres.

It has long been clear the only way to balance the books and secure a prosperous future for the racecourse is to sell the training area, which could be worth a fortune if planning permission were granted.

Dr. Poth's proposal to sell the land to a private developer was turned down by a big majority of the members last September.

Von Boetticher has announced that he will attempt to secure a deal with the city of Munich but with German bureaucracy being notoriously slow this could take years.

However, Von Boetticher says that he would have no problem in arranging bank financing in the meantime.

The racecourse at Riem, about seven miles east of Munich's city centre, is one of the best in Germany.

It has 14 racedays scheduled for 2012, with the top event being the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis over 10f on July 29.

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