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facilities inspected Billionaire breeder insists he has 'nothing to hide' at 'state-of-the-art' stables

Vets from the Department of Agriculture and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board spent a number of days inspecting his facilities in Kilternan on the Dublin-Wicklow border last month.

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Billionaire Luke Comer says that he would like to work with the horses full-time.

Billionaire Luke Comer says that he would like to work with the horses full-time.

Horse trainer Luke Comer's yard in Co Wicklow.

Horse trainer Luke Comer's yard in Co Wicklow.

Luke Comer says the complaints about his horse facilities are ‘overblown’

Luke Comer says the complaints about his horse facilities are ‘overblown’

Luke Comer aims to have 300 horses at his facility.

Luke Comer aims to have 300 horses at his facility.

Trainer Jim Gorman says the facilities are like a five-star hotel

Trainer Jim Gorman says the facilities are like a five-star hotel

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Billionaire Luke Comer says that he would like to work with the horses full-time.

Billionaire businessman and horse breeder Luke Comer has said his horses are "looked after better than people" after he confirmed veterinary inspectors had recently visited his multi-million racehorse facility on foot of a complaint.

Vets from the Department of Agriculture and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board spent a number of days inspecting his facilities in Kilternan on the Dublin-Wicklow border last month.

However, Luke told the Sunday World he had nothing to hide as he showed us around the facilities this week when we contacted him about the inspection.

"I understand somebody is trying to do us down at the moment," he said.

He added that he had seen a letter being sent around about his horse facilities recently and suspects the person behind that was also behind the complaint to the IHRB.

"I don't know what letter they got but I seen a letter that was sent to somebody else and it was the worst I've ever seen in my life. There were words stuck in like something a really evil person would do.

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Luke Comer says the complaints about his horse facilities are ‘overblown’

Luke Comer says the complaints about his horse facilities are ‘overblown’

Luke Comer says the complaints about his horse facilities are ‘overblown’

"If anyone went to the Turf Club (IHRB) with that they would have thought there were some terrible things going on.

"I don't think they're genuine animal lovers because if anyone knew what they were talking about they'd see the horses are looked after better than people.

The former plasterer from Glenamaddy, Co. Galway, made his fortune with his brother Brian in property around Europe particularly in Ireland, the UK and Germany.

The 63-year-old is a resident of Monaco but regularly travels back to Ireland and said this week his hope is to eventually retire and become a full-time trainer.

Luke was previously fined €50,000 by the Turf Club (IHRB) in 2017 for a number of breaches of regulation including refusing Turf Club officials access to the yard, failing to arrange adequate supervision of his horses, his medicine register not being in order, shortcomings in management structures and his representatives providing false and misleading information regarding the whereabouts of horses.

He said this week that the 2017 issues were "completely overblown" and said his facilities are state of the art.

"There was never one cent spared on how we look after the horses," he said.

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"It was completely overblown. There is a certain personality in the Turf Club which a lot of trainers have issues with but we always find them generally okay.

"There are lots of people doing all sorts of things with horses to try and make them win and they have to be ruthless to stop that and as far as I'm aware they're doing a good enough job. They're okay."

The facilities are overseen by trainer Jim Gorman, who described them as like "a five-star hotel" for horses. "We have the physiotherapist in all the time. Our vets are in every day. Everything is done properly. It helps he has the money," Jim said.

Luke has around 70 horses at Kilternan which has been in operation for over two years and he also owns stud farms. He said he has spent €150 million on his horse facilities and he plans to have around 300 horses in Kilternan when more development is carried out over the next year.

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Luke Comer aims to have 300 horses at his facility.

Luke Comer aims to have 300 horses at his facility.

Luke Comer aims to have 300 horses at his facility.

The new plans include a multi-storey development housing 160 stables, staff accommodation a parade circuit, an equine exercise pool and drying and cleaning rooms. He said a lot of money has already been invested in the existing facilities.

"You can see all the horses are happy as can be. They're all very well looked after and that's why, hopefully, some of them will turn into great racehorses."

"The facilities in Kilternan racing stables are second to none. We've built a walker that can walk 56 horses in one go between water and normal walking."

He said he had enough feed for two years at all his horse facilities around the country and well-kept stables.

Luke said he was annoyed that people were making allegation about his facilities after he invested so much into them.

"I'm not annoyed so much because I know there's nothing true but they do annoy you when you put so much in and people make stupid remarks or evil remarks."

Luke said a vet did an independent report at the same time the vets from the Department and the IHRB were there and his report found no wrongdoing.

"I haven't seen anything back from the Department of Agriculture or the Turf Club but I have seen the independent report and it was a glowing report."

A spokesperson for the Department said they "cannot comment on ongoing investigations". An IHRB spokesperson said: "We do not comment on individual inspections. During inspections, if there any matters identified that may indicate a breach of our rules, the licensee is brought before a Referrals Committee and the outcome of the case is publicised"

Luke told the Sunday World that he has always loved horses and has become involved in the industry because of that love and not as a money-making exercise.

"It's very seldom anyone makes money in this game and I'm not in it to make money, I'm in it for the love of it. Obviously you'd like to be successful in whatever you do and that's why we are building it up...

"For the last three or four years I decided if we're going to do this we should do it now and maybe someday I can retire to training full-time myself. That's what I'd like to do."


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