With the race for the SA Champion jockey title likely to go right down to the wire as we enter the final six weeks of the season, questions have been raised about recent suspensions incurred by title holder Lyle Hewitson and past multiple champion, Anton Marcus.
With Muzi Yeni chasing hard and in the mix, suggestions that Hewitson and Marcus could be stymied in their championship bids by missing out on vital rides through their respective suspensions appears to be unlikely in view of the due process and various options available to riders.
Based on the level of public interest, NHA Racing Control Executive Arnold Hyde kindly explained the process to the Sporting Post.
“In South Africa, we find ourselves in a unique position where, when a rider is suspended he effectively has a number of options concerning dates of suspension,” said Hyde.
He listed the process and options:
- He may sign an AOG and commence his suspension after his last carded ride OR
- He may elect to appear before an Inquiry Board (usually held during the ensuing week) and if found guilty and is suspended, he may commence his suspension after his last carded ride OR
- He may opt for the Inquiry transcript to be considered by the Inquiry Review Board, that meets from time to time. If a penalty is confirmed by the IRB, the suspension will commence after the rider’s last carded ride OR
- He may appeal the finding and or/penalty handed down by an Inquiry Board which is considered by an Appeal Board. A suspension that is sustained at this hearing will commence after the Rider’s last carded ride.
Given the proximity of the end of the season on 31 July, we asked whether it is compulsory that the rider serves his suspension during that particular season.
Hyde said that the suspension could be served in the next season if the process happen to unfold over that period.
He also confirmed that there are no concessions for feature race meetings and that the same rules applied to jockeys and apprentices.
We queried when two of the major players in Anton Marcus and Lyle Hewitson are likely to serve their recent suspensions.
“Mr Marcus has yet to decide on his options and Mr Hewitson has appealed,” said Hyde.
Hewitson has the distinction of being granted a Hong Kong contract for next season and is thought to be leaving during early August.
“South Africa is a specified Racing Authority, as is Hong Kong, so any suspension handed down in South Africa will be imposed by Hong Kong and vice versa,” confirmed Hyde.
A reader recently queried whether it is possible that Marcus or Hewitson could miss the July Day or Gold Cup Day race meetings.
Hyde said that it is possible.
“However, as stated the Riders have a few options regarding the consideration of the dates of suspensions.”