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The Vermeulen case: Transparency is the be-all and end-all

Unclear training or ownership conditions - this has happened more often in German racing. An offence that must not be allowed, because a weather needs all possible transparency, also and especially where and by whom the horses are prepared. A coach from France also had to make this experience.

Trainer Fabrice Vermeulen lost a lawsuit in a civil court against a six-month ban for falsifying owner data, after he had fought against a judgement of the stewards of France Galop that had been handed down almost three months earlier.

The initial six-month ban - three months of which will be suspended for five years - was imposed on 2 February and then upheld by an appeal panel on 14 April.

Vermeulen exercised his right to continue training during the appeal, a situation that was then extended when he applied to the administrative court in Amiens.

That case was now being heard and on the same day France Galop took the decision to go straight to invalidating his starters unless or until the court overturned the appeal hearing decision to uphold Vermeulen`s suspension.

But a judge denied Vermeulen`s request to stay the France Galop ruling. Winner of the Prix Eugene Adam last July and the Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud last month, Pretty Tiger is so far the only horse Giraudon has transferred to another trainer, whereas 16 of the 31 horses he has in training are still registered in Vermeulen`s stable.

All of Vermeulen`s starters have already been withdrawn by the stewards. Despite his suspension, the 43-year-old Vermeulen was still successful and remains second in the trainer standings. His total prize money of 886,650 euros places him just behind Jean-Claude Rouget and ahead of Andre Fabre.

The case was first initiated by France Galop after Vermeulen himself made a claim for unpaid bills against owner Laetitia Louis.

The evidence presented against him told a story of false accounting and invoicing to hide shares in various horses held by his employee Jeremy Para, whose company SAS Le Marais was barred from ownership after a police investigation in 2020.
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