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Former trainer Woods issues writ against HK Jockey Club

HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: General view of crownds wathing Race 2 during Hong Kong International Racing at Sha Tin Racecourse on December 11, 2016 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
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The Hong Kong Jockey Club has been issued with a writ of summons by former trainer Sean Woods, who claims the regulator did not grant him a level playing field by providing him with inferior training facilities.

Former Newmarket trainer Woods is claiming damages for loss of earnings and reputation after his training licence was not renewed last year.

Woods had failed to hit the HKJC's performance criteria for each of the previous three seasons, leading him to attend a hearing to 'show cause' as to why he should be granted a licence for 2016-17.

The trainer, who sent out a total of 279 winners during his 13 years in Hong Kong, argued the facilities at the HKJC's Olympic Stables, which he occupied with four other trainers, were inferior to those enjoyed by his counterparts at the main stables at Sha Tin racecourse.

In particular, he cited a lack of access to key facilities such as a swimming pool, as a major factor relating to his inability to send out the required number of winners, arguing he had been misled by the HKJC when convinced to move from the main stables to the Olympic stables.

Woods pointed to the declining fortunes of all four trainers at the Olympic stables following the move as proof the fault did not lie with him, with fellow trainer Andreas Schutz also having lost his licence last year.

"The perception which resulted from the news is that [Woods] is an incompetent or inferior trainer," said the writ. "[Wood's] inability to fulfil the performance criteria was a direct result of the uneven playing field between the Olympic trainers and the other 20 trainers in the main stable.

"By reason of the adverse public perception, [Woods] has not been able to restart his career in the UK."

By reason of the adverse public perception, [Woods] has not been able to restart his career in the UK

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