An owner who feels that the National Horseracing Authority’s handling of the introduction of Sectional Timing is unlawful and had one of his runners withdrawn recently as a result of his refusal to allow the horse to carry the timing transponder, has reserved his rights to pursue legal action.
Longstanding owner Advocate Brett Maselle says that the local operators conditions introduced with effect 4 June 2018 are unlawful and contrary to the rules of the NHA. He is adamant that the NHA’s National Board has not adopted any resolution to implement the condition and that the correct processes have not been applied.
Advocate Maselle’s runner Matanuska was withdrawn by the Stipendiary Stewards shortly before she was due to run in the eighth race at Turffontein on Sunday 10 June. This was despite his and his trainer’s timeous representations to the National Horseracing Authority on the issue of Matanuska’s carrying the ST equipment.
It so happened that the tote favourite finished unplaced and punters who had played Matanuska in their Place Accumulators, Pick Sixes and Jackpots lost out and were prejudiced by the late scratching.
National Horseracing Authority CEO Lyndon Barends has informed Advocate Maselle that the racing regulator is satisfied with the sectional timing devices which are being used and are communicating with the Operator to ensure that all data is correct. He says that the NHA is not of the view that the local conditions are contrary to the rules or its processes.
“The NHA again reiterates that it is of the view that sectional timing is a positive move forward in horseracing and we must all try our best to ensure its implementation,” writes Mr Barends in an email response to Advocate Maselle.
On Friday 22 June 2018, Stipendiary Steward Lyle Anderson called Trainer Mr Scott Kenny to ascertain whether Advocate Maselle’s Horse Hidden Agenda would be running on Sunday 24 June.
Advocate Maselle says he was was taken aback by the fact that Mr Anderson called Mr Kenny about his (Maselle’s) intentions and, more importantly, queried why his horse was being singled out by the NHA.
“I believe in fair treatment, if Mr Anderson calls me or my trainer then he should be calling every other owner and trainer,”says Advocate Maselle.
In a letter to the National Horseracing Authority, Advocate Maselle writes, inter alia that:_
Messrs Barends and Mr Hyde have determined that:-
the NHA is required to follow and implement the conditions imposed by Phumelela regarding sectional timing.
should any horse not wear sectional timing equipment it must be scratched by the stipendiary stewards. This is a directive given by Mr Hyde to the stipendiary stewards of the Central Provinces.
He continues that the National Board of the NHA has not:-
met or discussed the recent sectional timing conditions imposed by Phumelela on trainers, owners and the NHA.
investigated whether the ownership rights of owners and/or trainers rights are unfairly infringed upon.
resolved that the sectional timing conditions are lawful and/or should and/or can be applied by Phumelela and the NHA.
Maselle suggests that Messrs Barends and Hyde are acting ‘on a frolic of their own’ and do not appreciate the legal implications of their actions or the legal limitations of authority on their positions.
“I have demanded that when the sectional timing issue is discussed with the NHA National Board and/or voted on, Barends and Hyde recuse themselves and exclude themselves from the process,”says Advocate Maselle.
“I have threatened litigation. I have consulted with my attorneys, Senior and Junior counsel. I am inclined to follow their advice and to pursue the litigation in my own time. Most importantly, I have to consider the fact that my principles should not negatively affect my partners. Should I insist that no sectional timing be utilised on my horses, they may be unlawfully scratched by the NHA. My insistence and the scratching of my horses will cause prejudice to my partners as they will not be able to earn stakes. Moreover, when I launch my application, all the facts will be shown. Accordingly, unless otherwise advised, I will henceforth – under protest and with full reservation of all my rights – allow my horses to run with sectional timing equipment. To be clear, I do not condone the unlawful actions of the NHA and I intend to make sure that such conduct is found to be unlawful and prevented from occurring again in the future.”