Jeremy Noseda shocked as Gronkowski owners remove horses from his yard
One-time Kentucky Derby candidate Gronkowski is among 14 horses owned by big-spending Phoenix Thoroughbreds to have been taken away from the Newmarket yard of Jeremy Noseda in a move that left the trainer "shocked and surprised".
Gronkowski, who had been due to contest the Kentucky Derby only to spike a fever days before he was due to ship, collected more headlines after being bought into by New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski.
He is on his way to join top US trainer Chad Brown in New York, with his owners harbouring hopes he could still make the third leg of the US Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes on June 9. In Britain other Phoenix horses have been allocated to Martyn Meade, Karl Burke, Ed Vaughan and Robert Cowell.
The split is a significant blow to Noseda, who had played an integral role in helping establish Phoenix – an investment fund led by Amer Abdulaziz – as a major new international player in the sales ring and on the racecourse in little over a year.
He had worked on the sourcing and recruitment of horses alongside wife and bloodstock agent Kerri Radcliffe, but she and Phoenix parted company in March. She had already separated from Noseda.
Gronkowski, who was named by Radcliffe, has won his last four races, including the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle, which had secured him a guaranteed start in the Kentucky Derby.
Three-year-old Walk In The Sun, who has won both his starts having made his debut in January, has joined Meade, whose son-in-law, bloodstock agent Dermot Farrington, is now involved with Phoenix. Lansky, fourth in last year's Mill Reef Stakes, will be trained by Cowell.
Vaughan has been sent a $875,000 Scat Daddy filly purchased at Ocala's March Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale, having already taken charge of the top lot from the Arqana August Yearling Sale, a €1.55 million Dubawi colt out of Giofra whom Radcliffe signed for during a £25m bloodstock spending spree last year.
Tom Ludt, vice-president of equine operations for Phoenix, said: "Amer has a vision and Kerri and Jeremy were integral parts of the group when it started. The group has grown a lot in a short period of time.
"We're an international group with a lot of horses in America, Europe and Australia. To a degree it's kind of like a personnel change, and our opinion was to make a change. We decided to move the horses and scatter them around with multiple trainers, rather than being concentrated with one trainer. The decision wasn't taken lightly."
He added: "Gronkowski is coming over to Chad Brown and will hopefully still make the Belmont. Diamondsandpearls was always going back to Bob Baffert.
"The two-year-olds are spread out with Martyn Meade, Karl Burke, Ed Vaughan and Robert Cowell. The older horses are being spread out to the same guys. Sir Michael Stoute and Andre Fabre already train two-year-olds for us.
"It's unfortunate but sometimes decisions have to be made. We felt it was a change that was necessary for Phoenix to take on the next step of its plan. We'll continue to buy, continue to race and hopefully continue to win. This does not preclude us from having horses with Jeremy again."