Uthopia’s Ownership Still Unknown Week After Auction to End Years of Uncertainty

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Carl Hester and Uthopia at the 2012 Olympic Games. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Carl Hester and Uthopia at the 2012 Olympic Games. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

June 2, 2016

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The future of Uthopia, the stallion that was on Great Britain’s historic Olympic gold medal team, is unknown Friday, a week after an auction designed to end years of uncertainty about the stallion that remains in the care of Carl Hester.

The 15-year-old KWPN stallion was stabled at Carl’s Gloucestershire farm when sold last Friday to an individual who made the winning bid of £165,000 (€216,864/US$241,000) at Wilson’s Auctions in Mallusk, Northern Ireland.

Wilson’s Auctions said the buyer was unknown to them but would be required to make payment two business days after the Friday night auction, which was Wednesday of this week as Monday was a holiday in Northern Ireland.

Wilson’s Auctions did not respond to questions Thursday from dressage-news.com as to whether the buyer had paid for Uthopia.

The winning bid was by an individual who attended the auction but it was not known whether he was bidding for himself or as an agent.

Friends and supporters had contributed funds to keep the horse with Carl who said he was willing to keep Uthopia for the rest of his life but he was outbid.

The auction was extensively promoted by Wilson’s. After the auction, speculation as to the buyer was rampant and led to Paul Schockemöhle of Performance Sales International, to deny he was the buyer.

The auction of Uthopia was part of a bankruptcy court-ordered sale of assets of Sasha Stewart, who had owned the horse along with Carl. However, ownership of the horse was awarded by the court to Tom Keenan of Keenan Corporate Finance and James Neill of HNH Group as trustees in bankruptcy over the estates of Sasha Stewart and her father, Derek Harrison.

If the sale is not completed, it is not known what next steps will be taken by the trustees.

Highlights of the horse’s career were team gold and two individual silver medals at the 2011 European Championships, team gold at the 2012 Olympics in London for the first dressage medal for Great Britain in 100 years of Olympic competition,  and team bronze at the 2013 European Championships in Herning, Denmark.

Uthopia (Metall x Inspekteur) was found by Carl as a four-year-old. He was competed by Carl and Charlotte Dujardin at only 11 shows in Britain and the Continent in the four years since the Olympics.