By Jon Lees
Italy: Germany’s reigning champion trainer Henk Grewe faces losing a Group race in Italy because the filly who won the race Flamingo Girl is actually a hermaphrodite – having both male and female characteristics.
The extraordinary discovery emerged after Flamingo Girl, officially described as a four-year-old daughter of Soldier Hollow, tested positive for the male hormone testosterone after winning the fillies-only G3 Premio Elena E Sergio Cumani at Rome’s Capanelle racecourse in September.
The initial finding by Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry suggested the case could involve a doping offence. An immediate two-year disqualification was imposed on the horse – but subsequent tests in Germany have revealed Flamingo Girl is not totally female.
“I came across something like this 15 years ago when I was with Mario Hofer and the same doctor who made the test on that horse carried out the test on Flamingo Girl,” said Grewe.
“In Germany it is called a Zwitter [German for hermaphrodite]. It’s a bit strange. The filly was always a bit masculine. She had a bit of the character of a colt. I just thought she was a bit strong for a filly, but nothing more. It’s crazy, but we can’t change it.”
Flamingo Girl, who has run again since finishing down the field in a Listed race in Hannover, is expected to be disqualified from the Group victory in Italy and her future racing career must be in doubt.
Flamingo Girl has a record of three wins from 16 starts, including a Listed race in Dusseldorf in May 2020, Until last month she had never tested positive for testosterone.
“We have a meeting next week with Deutscher Galopp when we will clear everything up,” said Grewe. “This was not my fault. Parts of her are both male and female. She was tested at the beginning of her three-year-old campaign but it seems the male characteristics have developed later.”
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