The Shez Sinsational racing ownership team is in direct conflict with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing.

The five-person syndicate, which raced the group one winning mare on lease, want at least $70,000 in compensation for legal fees spent attempting to establish when the lease on Shez Sinsational ran out.

They also want to ensure that the rules of racing are changed so that this situation does not happen again.

The syndicate and the mare's trainer throughout her career, Allan Sharrock, believe that bungling by NZTR created their problem.


This complicated story began when Sharrock took a shine to the Ekraar mare when he saw her in a paddock at Stony Bridge Stud and agreed through the breeding operation's representative, Mike Tololi, to lease her until July 31, 2013. The deal included no monetary percentages but allowed the syndicate a foal from the mare.

The syndicate was compiled and included Sharrock's father, former trainer, Bob Sharrock.

On the original Registration of Lease form the syndicate failed to fill in the start date, but the end date was clearly stated as July 31, 2013. The form was received, stamped and the registration fee accepted on September 29, 2010.

On October 20, 2010 NZTR attempted to email Mr MacDonald, the syndicate manager, and the trainer Allan Sharrock, to advise them that the end date had been changed at the request of Mr Tololi.

NZTR said it received no reply to the emails to MacDonald and Sharrock but received an acceptance of the document from Tololi.

MacDonald and Sharrock said they did not receive that email. Sharrock believes the email address had been incorrect.

"Why did NZTR not attempt to contact any of the syndicate members or the trainer by phone?" asks Bob Sharrock.

"Isn't that what phones are for?"


In the absence of any reply, NZTR assumed Sharrock and MacDonald did not take issue with the proposed amendments to its records. NZTR relied on the only information it received and amended its records accordingly.

The syndicate asks why anyone would allow their lease to be shortened without their confirmation of their agreement. The syndicate was totally unaware of either change of ownership or the alteration to the lease date for another 15 months.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, Stony Bridge was placed in receivership and a little later Tololi on-sold the ownership rights to Shez Sinsational to Mary Fitzpatrick, with no change to the syndicate's rights to race the mare.

According to NZTR chief executive Greg Purcell this was permitted because Tololi had written consent from the official assignee to trade the mare. The syndicate disputes this statement from Purcell as subsequently on identifying Shez Sinsational the receivers claimed ownership of the mare.

This action began conflict between the receivers and Mrs Fitzpatrick over ownership and Mrs Fitzpatrick instigated court proceedings. The syndicate became involved when she named them as fourth respondents in relationship to the end date of the lease and their right to have a foal.

"We started to get very concerned about the end date of the lease, which needed to be changed back to its original date, also about who owned the horse and the issue about the foal which was in the lease," said Allan Sharrock.

"But as hard as we tried to resolve these issues NZTR refused to alter the lease back to 31st July, 2013. We asked why? We said you changed it once, now change it back to what it is supposed to be. They refused."

The court case was dropped and the receivers retained ownership of the mare.

On December 3, 2012, a letter was received advising the syndicate that the end date should always have been July 31, 2013.

"It was no use finding that out then," says Allan Sharrock, "we needed to know that months earlier. We had wanted to take her to the Melbourne Cup which she qualified for through her Auckland Cup win, but the lack of clarity over the lease affected our decision to enter.

"We would have loved to have taken her to the Melbourne Cup and NZTR's bungling cost us that chance."

"I don't understand the logic behind that," Purcell said. "If they'd wanted to run in the Melbourne Cup they could have."

Sharrock says Purcell's opinion does not take seriously the danger of placing all the syndicate's faith into one race, which is extremely difficult to win.

"There was a suggestion in the middle of all of this that the lease expired on 31 December, which means if we'd gone down the Melbourne Cup road, the mare would have needed a break after Melbourne and we wouldn't have been able to race her again."

Bob Sharrock said that without the legal moves the syndicate would have lost out heavily.

"There is no question we would have lost the right to the foal and I've also got no doubt NZTR would not have changed the end of the lease back without legal pressure. We know we are entitled to compensation."

Purcell does not agree. "I know they are very angry but we at NZTR are comfortable that we handled each stage correctly."

NZTR's Integrity Unit is meeting in Wellington on Thursday to create a document to be placed on its website as an information template, regarding what is required on the body's lease form.

"People think our lease forms are legal documents - they are merely for NZTR to enter information on to our database.

"Any agreements between parties should be registered separately.

"This meeting on Thursday is a direct result of this Shez Sinsational case," said Purcell.

Shez Sinsational went amiss and was retired after finishing second to Veyron in the Zabeel Classic on January 1.

She had 30 starts for 12 wins and $1,400,722 in stakes and shortly before she finished racing was valued at $1.4 million.

She is in foal to Darci Brahma, the result of which will become the property of the syndicate.