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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Angry owner Wilson vows to sue trainer over aborted Derby plan

Judith Wilson with Maidstone Mixture at the Derby in 2008
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Diore Lia may have limped out of the Derby with a whimper but Fergus Wilson is threatening legal action over the circumstances that led to his own rank outsider missing Epsom.

The owner, a Kent-based buy-to-let millionaire renowned for running long-priced contenders in big races, had been hoping to have his colours carried by Maidstone Majesty on Saturday.

Running in the Derby was his aim for the French-based colt, who was placed four times in seven runs with Chantilly trainer Pia Brandt, earning more than €35,000 in prize-money without hinting at Group 1 class.

Wilson said: "We were all geared up but the trainer had a runner at Newmarket on 1,000 Guineas day, it finished sixth of seven and she said she wasn't going to have runners in England again.

"It was too late to put him with anyone else, so I pulled him out of the Derby at the last scratching stage and have given the horse away.

"I'm suing the trainer for £100,000 for breach of contract. She changed her mind and said she didn't want to come for the Derby."

Wilson, 70, and his wife Judith, whose joint fortune was put at £140 million by The Sunday Times in April, had Cerium finish fifth in the Grand National at 100-1 in 2009 but saw their 250-1 shot Maidstone Mixture come last of 16 in the Derby the previous year.

Wilson was under no illusions about Maidstone Majesty's Epsom prospects and said: "Would he have won the Derby? Almost certainly not. Would he have been in the first six? Again, almost certainly not. But would he have been disgraced? No.

"The trainer said he could stay in France and he would cover his costs, but I said I'm not interested in the money, my wife wants a runner in the Derby.

"It's straightforward breach of contract. It's no different from taking on a painting contractor to paint three houses and he paints only one."

Brandt, who no longer trains for Wilson, denied saying after Newmarket she would have no more runners in Britain but would make no further comment on the situation. 

She enjoys her racing in Britain and hopes to have runners at Royal Ascot in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes and the Commonwealth Cup.

It's straightforward breach of contract. It's no different from taking on a painting contractor to paint three houses and he only paints one
E.W. Terms
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