Murder shocks all
Horse racing identity Samba gunned down
STUNNED horse racing figures have expressed s hock and surprise following the murder of former trainer and colourful owner Les Samba who was gunned down on a busy Melbourne street on Sunday night.
Samba, 60, had links with an accused Sydney murderer and Melbourne underworld figures, but is not believed to have been under investigation himself.
Police said he was shot dead after arriving for a meeting on the Beaconsfield Pde beachfront at Middle Park, a few kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, on Sunday night.
They said he had been seen running along the roadside before being shot in the head and body near a car he had earlier driven to the scene.
Samba had been in Melbourne for the Premier Yearling Sales which began at Oaklands Junction on Monday. A big spender at sales around the country for many years, Samba and his family had owned several top-class racehorses.
At the sales yesterday, reaction t o his death was muted.
Trainer David Hayes described him as a ‘‘ colourful’’ character.
‘ ‘ I trained for him, It hought he was a good bloke,’’ Hayes said.
Others said Samba was regarded as a good judge of horseflesh and were unaware of any reason he would have been killed.
Samba owned several horses in partnership with accused murderer Ron Medich, including Sea Lord and Defiant Dame, who is due to run at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
Medich was last year charged with murdering and soliciting to murder Sydney property developer Michael McGurk and is currently on bail.
Samba had also been mentioned in connection with a prominent Melbourne criminal with close connections to the racing industry.
He was also the father-inl aw of successful j ockey Danny Nikolic who was married to his daughter Victoria.
Detective Inspector John Potter from the Homicide Squad said police believed S a mba had parked and locked his car, a 2010 silver Hyundai sedan with NSW registration plates, in the street to attend a meeting.
An altercation between the victim and another man is understood to have preceded the shooting before Samba was seen running in an attempt to escape.
Police are hunting a man in his mid-20s to mid-30s last seen running into Langridge St, wearing dark clothing.