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Al Shaqab vows to pay debts

The Al Shaqab horse-racing ownership group has told trainers that they will be paid soon after it was reported that the collective debts of the group had reached more than £1m (€1.1m/$1.4m).

According to the Guardian newspaper, a spokesman for the Qatari group confirmed that unspecified debts had been outstanding for months and offered a general apology. He added that all debts would be settled “in the coming weeks” following the completion of a financial review.

Khalifa al-Attiya, Al Shaqab’s general manager, said: “The blockade against Qatar had many consequences socially and politically but not for this situation. This is purely an issue due to the financial review taking longer than expected.

“We do apologise and it is not something we wanted to happen or take lightly. We are in the middle of restructuring the whole organisation.”

The newspaper said that some of the trainers were sceptical about the group’s latest assurances.

One of those involved claimed that several trainers are now owed “significant six-figure sums”, the report added.

However, Newbury racecourse, where Al Shaqab sponsors the Lockinge Stakes, said: “All of our commercial dealings have been satisfactory to us.”

The British Horseracing Authority said: “While we would not comment on speculation surrounding individual cases, more generally the rules allow for the BHA to mediate on any dispute over unpaid training fees when a complaint is raised to the BHA and where a training agreement exists between the owner and trainer.”