Former Australian stallion, Golden Slipper placegetter Churchill Downs, is among 12 horses stolen from Libya’s biggest stud, Al Shaab.
He stood at stud in Victoria before being bought and transported to Libya in 2012.
Al Shaab’s general manager and equine veterinarian, Dr. Amad Eshaab, said on Twitter the farm had been attacked by armed militia at the weekend and six in-foal mares and six stallions taken.
“I am so sad and my heart is broken. … It is my life’s work, for my country and countrymen, I preserve the national heritage, and now this terrible assault. It is too cruel,” Eshaab said.
The stud, near Tripoli, was overtaken by armed militia from the city of Tarhuna, and, according to Eshaab, the intruders looted everything from veterinary devices and equipment to furniture, generators, jars, and water pumps.
“Six o’clock yesterday an armed group came from the Tarhuna city, militia loyal to Haftar. They stole six in-foal (mares) that are about to give birth this January or February,” Eshaab told BloodHorse.com.
“Then they entered the stallion (barn) and stole six stallions.
“They shot two horses (who) were wounded in the legs … no one could provide the ambulance to help the horse with euthanasia.
“We appeal to all humanitarian organisations and all horse organisations to save the horses of Libya.”
Al Shaab Stud is one of the largest stables in North Africa and was established in April 2000.
Eavesdropper, a Kentucky-bred, stakes-winning son of Kingmambo who is a half brother to A.P. Indy and Summer Squall, were among the stallions stolen.
The others were New Zealand-bred Brut Force, the top sire in Libya, the former Gai Waterhouse-trained Backdraft, as well as Irish-bred Raise a Grand and American Metternich.
Eshaab was unable to work for nine months because of violence in the area but said he was proud of the progress and national heritage the farm represented.
“It has contributed greatly to the advancement of the horse industry in Libya,” he said
“(it has) contributed to the establishment of the Libyan Stud Book and contributed to the establishment of the Libyan Horse Racing Authority.”