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Billionaire Butlins boss rips up jockey Marco Ghiani's contract without reason


MARCO GHIANI has lost his job as retained jockey to billionaire Butlins boss Peter Harris.

And the young Italian says he was not given an explanation as to why his contract was not renewed at the start of this Flat season.

Marco Ghiani has not had his contract with Peter Harris renewed


Marco Ghiani has not had his contract with Peter Harris renewedCredit: PA
The Butlins boss has spent millions on new horses in recent years


The Butlins boss has spent millions on new horses in recent yearsCredit: PA
His horse Rolica won at Newmarket last week under Hollie Doyle


His horse Rolica won at Newmarket last week under Hollie DoyleCredit: PA

Ghiani, 25, had his breakthrough season in 2021, riding a century of winners for a number of powerful owners, including Godolphin.

He clearly caught the eye of Harris, 90, who scooped him up to ride his growing string of horses, who are all in training in Newmarket with Jane Chapple-Hyam.

Harris, who co-founded both Butlins and Haven Holidays back in the 1960’s, used to train his own horses in Hertfordshire until his legendary jockey son-in-law Walter Swinburn, who sadly died in 2016, took over the licence.

He left the sport in 2015 before returning with a splash two years ago, spending several million pounds on blue-blooded horses at the sales and sending them to Aussie trainer Chapple-Hyam.


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Harris now has around 20 horses in training and had a number of runners at Newmarket last week, with 320,000 guineas purchase Rolica winning a hot maiden.

He also had Mill Stream finish second in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes while the promising El Bodon was just touched off in the Group 3 Greenham at Newbury.

But it was notable that Ghiani was not on board any of his runners at the three-day Craven meeting, which is widely considered the start of the Flat proper.

Ghiani said: “I’m no longer riding for Peter. I wasn’t given a reason, I was just told I was not getting my contract renewed.

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“It is a shame, he has some nice horses for this year which I would have liked to have ridden. I can’t really say much else.”

It has been a tough 18 months for Ghiani, who was banned for six months after testing positive for cocaine in September 2022.

Earlier this year, he was hit with a whopping 34-day whip ban, and on April 3 his close friend Stefano Cherchi tragically died after suffering a terrible fall during a race in Australia.

He has, at least, formed even closer ties with his fellow countryman Marco Botti over the last few months, and both men were in Italy on Saturday for Cherchi’s funeral.

While it was a very difficult day, everyone involved with the Botti yard were given a boost when Folgaria won the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes under Hollie Doyle at Newbury.

She will now head for the French 1000 Guineas on May 12, and Ghiani would love to get the chance to try and win the big Group 1 on her.

He said: “I get on well with Marco and it is going really well, we had a good bit of success together over the winter.

“I galloped Folgaria before Newbury but couldn’t be there to ride her. She felt really good and is a very nice horse.

“I would love to get the chance to ride her in France, but we will have to see what happens between now and then.”


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