In September 2015, the Supreme Court of NSW delivered its judgment in Capogreco v Rogerson. It’s an interesting case and perhaps a timely deterrence for would-be horsemen, tempted to act hastily in the shadow of the Melbourne Cup.
The proceedings centered around a race horse called Arlington. Arlington was originally purchased by Gerry Harvey as a yearling for $1.55 million and then syndicated. One of the syndicate owners, a Mr Rogerson, sold a 25% share to Mr & Mrs Capogreco for almost $500,000.
Apparently, it came as some surprise to Mr & Mrs Capogreco when the great expectations that they held for Arlington were not realised. Arlington raced in both Australia and New Zealand and did not achieve much success in any Group 1 races, save for a modest third in the Randwick Guineas.
At some point the owners’ syndicate took the reins and made the decision to sell Arlington. There was a separate issue in the proceedings as to whether or not the Capogrecos consented to the sale, but in any event, Arlington sold for $60,000. The Capogrecos, in a deal they’d rather forget, therefore retained $15,000 of their $500,000 investment.
Clearly disgruntled, the Capogrecos were chomping at the bit to get into court. Never better than an each way bet, the Capogrecos boldly claimed that they purchased Arlington on the basis of a misleading representation made by Mr Rogerson, that, ‘it was a safe investment’. Mr Capogreco said that Mr Rogerson led him to believe that he was ‘100% guaranteed’ to make money out of Arlington.
The court found that the Capogrecos were experienced business people and had some experience in horseracing. Not surprisingly then, the Supreme Court viewed the evidence and claims of the Capogrecos with much doubt. Mr Rogerson passed the post first by a long margin and the claims made by the Capogrecos for misleading and deceptive conduct were dismissed.
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