Athena Heads To USA

An update from Roy Wentzel

War Of Athena, winner of last season’s Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara, will be off to America next month to continue her racing career.

A number of stories have been circulating about the future of the Act Of War four-year-old but Roy Wentzel, who owns the filly with his wife Rose-Waterman Wentzel, confirmed on Thursday  that if all goes to plan War Of Athena will be boarding a flight on 7 March with a group of other horses and jet off to New York.

Roy and Rose lead in their superstar with Muzi saluting (Pic- Chase Liebenberg)

There she will have to spend 60 days in quarantine during which period the Wentzels will find a trainer and plot a course for her career.

He also confirmed that all their horses had been moved out of Paul Matchett’s yard and that War Of Athena and Battle Force are currently with trainer Peter Muscutt in KwaZulu-Natal.

“The rest of our runners have been sent to Camargue Stud in Mooi River where we will assess their futures.

“Some will be retired, some may be put back into training. If they do, we would be certainly consider sending them back to Paul,” said Wentzel

He also made it clear the fact War Of Athena tested positive for Dexamethasone after her last win at Turffontein in December had nothing to do with their decision. “That was very unfortunate. She tested positive but not for performance-enhancing drug, it was just that the anti-inflammatory was not quite out of her system.

“But we were planning to send her overseas before that happened.”

That was something confirmed by Arnold Hyde, Racing Control Executive for the NHA. “It often comes down to the withdrawal time and that was probably the case with War Of Athena.Sometimes these things happen.”

Wentzel made it clear that both War Of Athena and Battle Force are at Muscutt’s yard for rehabilitation. “She’s at his stable with vets and physiotherapist. She hurt herself in that last race, she strained a muscle but nothing serious. We could have patched her up for the Met, but we thought do we let it go, or end up with a more serious injury later.”

During the 60-day quarantine in the US, horses are virtually locked up for the entire period, but they do allow them to work on a treadmill. “Peter has a treadmill in his yard so she can get used to it now. She needs to be as strong as she can get.”

While no fixed plans have been made for her at this stage, Wentzel said she would most likely end up racing on the West Coast. They would love to have her qualify for the Breeders’ Cup meeting but that was still a long way off.

“There are nice races for them on turf over 2000m, we will see what she can do there. Her last few runs were not her standard at all.

“And we always have the option of putting her to a nice stallion over there.”

He also paid tribute to Matchett. “We’ve been very lucky, Paul has been good to us. We just felt she could do better in the meantime using the time for rehab before she leaves.”

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