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NHA’s Kid Gloves Approach Under Fire

Bad for image of SA racing

Sanctions handed out to trainer Stephanie Miller and jockey Muzi Yeni this past week have evoked public and industry reaction, with suggestions that our racing regulator has missed the boat and are proving largely ineffective.

“Cruelty to animals somehow ranks below financially related offences”, suggested a PE-based trainer, who pointed out that a well-established trainer had lost his licence after it emerged that he was training as an unrehabilitated insolvent.

Steph Miller – tough week (Pic – Netwerk24)

“Let me tell you, he is a horseman and a person who would never do any harm to horses in his care. Maybe there are legal implications in terms of his status. Yet he is sitting outside the circle, while Mrs Miller can continue her business using her  now questionable training methods.”

Miller was found guilty of having an electrical and mechanical cattle- prodder in her training establishment – on Phumelela property – as well as using forbidden substances. There was no proof that she had used the equipment.

While the NHA are implementing fines within the ambit of their guidelines, the general consensus is that Miller is lucky to have kept her licence, given the cumulative impact of her offences.

Another caller suggested that fining jockeys for exceeding the crop  twelve-strike rule was laughable and had little effect.

“If the NHA is serious, then give the jockeys time off – proper time. And maybe at the same time consider that the jocks are not the likely perpetrators on average when it comes to horse cruelty. That is the trainer – and Mrs Miller’s case raises a good example. And money should not be allowed to simply make things go away while it’s business as unusual!”

Muzi Yeni – lucky escape?

Muzi Yeni’s 90 day suspension for the in-race incident with Lyle Hewitson at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Super Saturday, is also being seen as a bit soft.

The Australian website Justhorseracing.com.au reports in an editorial entitled ‘Jockey gets off light for seriously dangerous incident’, that in footage that was shades of the most famous illegal battle down the Randwick straight when Mel Schumaker reached down and pulled another jock’s leg in the 1961 AJC Derby, the two best riders in South Africa were called into the Steward’s room for a please explain.

Their report says that Yeni pleaded not guilty and has the Right Of Appeal.The Stewards outed him for 90 days.

That’s a far cry from when the Shoe copped his fine for grabbing Tommy Hill’s leg in that AJC Derby.

To recap, and it wasn’t all that much different to Yeni and Hewitson, Schumacher was near the rails on Blue Era while Hill, on Summer Fair, was challenging on his outside.

Nothing untoward could be seen from the stands when Schumacher threw his arm out at Tommy Hill.

Back in the enclosure, as the horses returned, Hill screamed out loud and the Stewards hauled them into the room.

The head on footage showed what happened and Mel Schumacher’s world collapsed around him.

Schumacher, who had celebrated his 24th birthday only the month before, was outed for life by the AJC Stewards on a charge of foul riding.

The disqualification cut short the career of arguably the most promising and fearless jockey in the country at the time.

Schumacher’s sentence was reduced upon appeal, and he got back into race-riding, but the long term on the outer shot his career to pieces.

Even the reduction was scary compared to the 90 days Yeni just copped. The Shoe was banned for 10 years.

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10 comments on “NHA’s Kid Gloves Approach Under Fire

  1. Chris Swart says:

    Timing is crucial too

    When there is a great rumour doing the rounds regarding closure of Kimberley in January, the public will have zero sympathy for the centre when they read reports like this

    You can’t condone the behaviour in any way but it does sway opinion

    Rumours are just that though

  2. Paul says:

    Every chance, then, that penalties imposed may be increased by the Appeal Boards.

    Appellants beware!

  3. Wayne Jooste says:

    How Stephanie Miller is allowed to keep her license and Muzi Yeni only got a 90 day suspension for his ridiculous and extremely dangerous actions are both laughable! The “sport of kings” in South Africa is going through a tough time at the moment, with “track managers” who have no clue what they are doing (one just needs to look at the state of the tracks to figure that one out), to trainers getting a slap on the wrist for blatant animal cruelty, to a jockey getting a very soft sentence for shocking and dangerous riding. All I can say to horseracing in South Africa is “Rest In Peace”…….

  4. Warren Grobler says:

    Neither of these incidents were an accident,there was clear malicious intent in both cases.

    In one,an animal is blatantly being abused,whilst in the other instance there could have been catastrophic consequences for Lyle Hewitson.

    The fact that there was malicious intent should lead maximum penalties,and the penalties meted out don’t match the intent shown by the individuals in either case.

  5. Brett Maselle says:

    The wrong choice of words can change a story.

    The facts are this:

    Corne Spies trained as an unrehabilitated insolvent from 2012 to 2018 when the NHA rules prevented him from doing so.

    According to the NHA, Corne Spies did not lose his licence, he handed it in freely and voluntarily when it initiated proceedings in 2018 to hold an inquiry into his status.

    Within a matter of 48 hours Tobie Spies was granted a trainers licence by the NHA and the majority of owners authorities to act that were in the name of Corne Spies were put into the name of Tobias Spies.

    The reality is that nothing really changed at the Spies Racing Trainers except for Tobias Spies becoming the trainer and Corne Spies becoming a groom.

    Here is the kicker:

    The NHA admitted to me in writing that it knew in 2012 that Corne Spies was an unrehabilitated insolvent. He handed in his colours but kept his trainers licence when he could not do so.

    With full knowledge that Corne Spies could not hold a trainers licence, the NHA flagrantly violated its own rules and allowed Corne Spies to train.

    Now it is trying to brush the whole incident under the carpet.

    The point is this: Every time a Corne Spies trained horse ran while he was insolvent, it should not have.
    The financial implications are massive. As an example: If a Corne Spies trained horse won a race, the owner of the second horse would have won and received the stakes for first place. So on and so forth. Bookmakers and punters worldwide were also affected.

    I blame the NHA to allow Corne Spies to trainer when he could not. Everyone in horse racing who was unaware was intentionally misled by the NHA.

    The reasons for not allowing an unrehabilitated insolvent to become a member of the NHA are simple. I need not explain this. The rules is there for a reason.

    By the way…. this is the short story, the facts are a lot longer and Corne Spies is certainly no paragon of virtue.

    Finally, I did not renew my colours.
    I intend to deal with the NHA on my turf.
    It has zero jurisdiction over me.

    A friend said to me in a joking manner that if any colour holder of the NHA had to employ me for an inquiry, the NHA would never be able to hold one because the inquiry board would have to recuse themselves.

  6. Leon Lotz says:

    Brett
    Is your fight with Corne or with the NHA.If those horses went to any other trainer and won the result would be the same for horse and owner.If you love horses renew your colours,it certainly sounds like you are so upset because you are without horses

  7. Brett Maselle says:

    I have a problem with both. They both misled the racing public and acted unlawfully.

    The real culprit is the NHA as it allowed the situation to occur. As a regulator, the NHA has obligations to horse racing and the public. It failed miserably. I did not know that the NHA knew about Corne Spies being an unrehabilitated insolvent. After Corne Spies “handed in” his licence to train in 2018 a good samaritan informed me that the NHA knew he was an unrehabilitated insolvent. I approached the NHA who only then made the admission that it knew.

    If I was Corne Spies and my livelihood was training and the NHA knew I was unrehabilitated and allowed me to train, I too would have continued to train. As a trainer, he would not know the legal ramifications. Moreover, the regulator gave him the thumbs up to train. However, both are and remain in the wrong.

    What makes matters worse is that I lodged a complaint with the NHA against Arnold Hyde and Riaan Janse Van Rensburg for not acting against Corne Spies sooner than they did. I paid a R3k deposit. The NHA never disclosed to me that it knew about Corne Spies being an unrehabilitated insolvent and allowed him to train. It hid the true facts.

    The complaint took more than a year. It was dismissed because these gents did apparently act properly at the inquiry they made disclosure that the NHA knew about Corne Spies being an unrehabilitated insolvent and the inquiry board board did not want to hear anything about it because that was not the complaint before them. I only found out about this fact out by having to approach the NHA in terms of PAIA. Then the NHA illegally charged R3k and deducted it from my credit balance for what should be R50 application fee. I had to threaten the NHA with theft and fraud before it repaid me the correct amount.

    There is a lot more about this NHA that has been kept quiet. As time progresses I will make things known.

    I apologise for spelling and grammatical errors. I am using my mobile and have not checked what I have typed.

  8. Steve Reid says:

    Leon the story will come out in time and although I am intimately aware of Brett’s struggle, I will leave him to tell his story.. Unfortunately the NHA are an organisation that have over the years acted deceitfully, particularly towards Brett. The reason Brett has not renewed his colours is simple – he wants the freedom to say what he wants to say without falling foul of the NHA protectionist rules. I did something similar three years ago as I was a repeat offender of the infamous 72.1.26 rule, something I liken to the apartheid detention without trial laws at the time. There is no defence against the rule, because it is so vague and can be utilised just to get you before the inquiry panel without even a charge being laid against you. To give you an idea, the legal costs of defending myself every time Arnold Hyde listened to his paymasters and their Jooste appointed sidekick, were north of R300K each time. Senior Council don’t come cheap. All of what I say I can easily prove.

  9. Mike says:

    Ban them both finish and klaar

  10. Brian says:

    I think it’s time you both got together and climbed in.

    These guys are not what should be running or even be I involved with racing

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