Aussie breeder takes on Dubai sheikh


Tony Koch | August 02, 2008

A KNOCKABOUT Tenterfield horse breeder with centuries-old connections to the thoroughbred industry has accused one of the world’s richest men of galloping away with his family’s legendary name.

Kev Darley, an archetypal Aussie battler, has accused Dubai sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum – with the help of a federal government agency – of swooping on the Darley brand.

And with typical Irish-Australian pugnacity, it’s obvious that Mr Darley – with his quick grin, a blacksmith’s handshake and earthy language – is not going to give up his proud family name without a fight.

“Whichever way they want it – negotiated sensibly, Queensberry or bare knuckle – I’m ready,” Mr Darley said.

Unfortunately, it may well be his only hope to knock some sense into the argument.

The name Darley is the da Vinci of horse breeding, the Royal Doulton of racing, with The Darley Arabian being the trace-back sire for more than 98 per cent of the world’s great thoroughbreds.

Sheik Maktoum, 58, the billionaire ruler of Dubai, is the world’s most famous and influential racehorse owner-breeder, and earlier this year paid $500 million to buy the Ingham brothers’ stud in the NSW Hunter Valley.


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