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Why Are Things Left To Chance?

No response from NHRA or racing operator

A glaring oversight in what should surely be a routine safety check process has been exposed after a shocking accident at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Wednesday.

When the starter sprung the gates for the third race, he sent horses and riders directly into the danger zone.

We put our lives in others hands every day. Especially on 11 September.

When you lie on the operating table, or even when buckling up on that Mango flight to Joburg, you have taken it for granted that the safety checks have been done – including clearance of foreign objects and oil slicks of whatever nature from the runway. It’s not the kind of thing you are able to do yourself.

Jockeys are known to walk the track before racemeetings, in instances of weather concerns or even an unfamiliarity with the track.

But the Pietermaritzburg weather was beautiful on Wednesday and there was no reason for a red flag.

The first two races down the straight went off without incident.

The third race was the first round the turn. Watch it here:

The official stipes report tells what happened:

Approaching the 800 metre mark TWICE GOLDEN stumbled badly dislodging Jockey A Mgudlwa. As a result BAYVIEW EXPRESS (*A Arries) in attempting to jump the fallen rider, fell, dislodging Apprentice A Arries.  Simultaneously JARENE (*T Gumede) stumbled, became unbalanced and was eased. Thereafter DUTCH ALLEY (K de Melo), BROOKLYN (*L Ferraris), LIGHTNING PARCADOR (E Ngwane), POWER TO COMMAND (S Moodley), QUATRO FIVE SIX (S Brown) and YUKTA’S DANCE (W Kennedy) were hampered, switched out and raced wide on the bend from the 800 metre mark.As a result of taking evasive action due to the above incident, the saddle on QUATRO FIVE SIX (S Brown) slipped sideways

Following a report from the NHRA Veterinary Surgeon a track inspection was carried out on an area of the track on the bend near the inside running rail.

Following this inspection a decision was made to move a section of the running rail  out approximately 5 metres to avoid the area of concern. This caused a delay to the running of Race 4.

The inspection of the track revealed a clearly visible wet patch with divots, which probably led to the accident.

An angry trainer said it was time for the NHRA and the Racing Operator to tell the industry and the racing public how they had permitted a race to be run in dangerous circumstances.

“The patch was wet and dangerous.Whether it was caused by irrigation or a pipe leaking, the blunt fact is that when the all clear is given for the start of the race, it is based on a blind man having done nothing. No senior officials from the regulator or the operator have inspected the track. The jockeys are riding in the dark and this accident could so easily have resulted in death for horse or rider. Racing doesn’t need this kind of publicity. But heads need to roll and we are going to demand answers. Too many jobs are being protected,” said the trainer.

The Sporting Post has learnt this morning that the bills for the veterinary care for the injured horses will be handed to Gold Circle for payment.

“We may regard ourselves as a first world racing jurisdiction but we are in reality closer to third world. We need the Australians out here to come and teach us the basics. And what about the knock-on effect of the delay in timetable and the potential reputational damage for SA racing in the eyes of international viewers?”

National Horseracing AuthorityThe Sporting Post mailed the NHRA and Gold Circle yesterday immediately after the race to attempt to determine whether any inspections are ever carried out ahead of racemeetings. We also asked whose responsibility the matter was and whether an inquiry would be opened.

We have had no response.

The official stipes report makes no reference to any corrective action being taken either.

We hear that on Sunday at Hollywoodbets Scottsville, the jockeys will not ride without clearance and assurances that a process is in place.

Next time you buckle up and get set for take-off on that flight to Joburg, just hope and pray that people have done their jobs and fixed that crater in the runway.

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11 comments on “Why Are Things Left To Chance?

  1. Manfred Rohwer says:

    As far as I am aware the operator has to do the inspections and hand the responsibility over to the NHRA a certain time period before the first race. After which it is the responsibility of the NHRA until a period after the last.
    The NHRA should be in possession of an inspection report prior to each race meeting.

    1. Editor says:

      Thanks Manfred – but they’re not saying anything
      It’s been 24 hours since we asked a simple question

  2. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…It’s not a nice thing to see jockeys coming down but at the same time Jockeys should get off there backsides and walked the course I remember clearly back in the days where certain jocks would walk the course after track work or before the 1st Race kicks off…it would not only give them a clue to the going of the track but also give them a much wider range of better positioning ,,will it be best to be next to the rail 1 off the rail 2 off the rail,,could you steal a race with a mediocre horse knowing that conditions will suit front runners and so on and so on… wake up boys take the time out to do your homework not if but or maybe you’ll have such a better vision before your 1st ride…add advantage of winning the 1st down the straight or around the bend

  3. DEAN DEMONT says:

    End of the day Frankie, it’s not upto the jockey to inspect the track before race riding, yes, I agree with you , they should walk the tracks and see where it will be advantageous to place their rides, but it all comes down to the laziness, from the chairman of the NHRA to the janitor. All they are interested in,is to see where and how they can blood suck every last rand out of the punter. No regard whatsoever for a human or equine life. I recall 2 months back, they had to euthanize a horse of Sean Tarry for the same reason, the track had more craters than the moon.. racing is sadly but surely a dying game in this 3rd world country, and the sooner the public boycott a race meeting or two, the better. Boycott until they force resignations of a few “representatives ” then replace them with someone that has the betterment of the racing public at heart, and not to grease their own pockets. We might only then be on par with Zimbabwe or Ngong racing.

  4. Donald says:

    How can you expect jockeys to ” walk the track ” ? Kennedy / Yeni and others are on and off an aircraft every day ! What are they meant to do ? Ask another jockey who has more time to ” walk the track ” and then report back to them ? No , the responsibility lies with the TRACK MANAGER who sets up the track and works for the operator GOLD CIRCLE so those two entities must be held responsible !

    I will chair the inquiry into the incident at NO COST to GOLD CIRCLE and arrive at the correct sanction on completion of the process and then hold a press conference on the findings and recommendations in 14 days ?

  5. GkScott says:

    Refer my comments of Thursday morning someone has to be accountable were is the hand over procedure from relevant inspections carried out and by who prior to commencement of Raceing on Wed
    If Hollywoods good name is getting pulled around they must ask these question or pull sponsorship away people lives at risk
    This is not the first time at that corner .

  6. bob kistnasamy says:

    There is a total disregard for the welfare of the punters, who are the lifeblood of the industry. Without the punter, there is no horseracing. Whilst the owner play a major role but it is the punter who increases the pools and keep the sport rolling. In addition, there are lots of other competition to the horseracing industry and the NHRA needs to get up from it’s slumber.
    Indications are that the punters got the worst of the poor decisions. Perhaps some leeway should be considered to include the field in this race, in bets OR the race even abandoned as an event.
    A few good punter friends have left the game.
    I find it a greater pleasure to punt UK racing which is professionally run with an abundance of information to assist the punter.
    as for SA horseracing, the industry is in a rapid decline.

  7. Wayne Fouche says:

    Who are the track managers at the various race courses around SA? Are they FULLY trained and are they capable of doing the job correctly?

  8. Cecil Pienaar says:

    A simple walk, drive by a Mngr would have picked up this damp/wet spot near the bend. Surely this is common practice.
    Why after incidents ?

    Here is the thing… Fines and penalties are dished out to Jockeys and trainers all the time

    This incident calls for disciplinary actions against ‘someone’

    Racing operator staff comments often on this forum…

    And now ? ” Tjoep stil ”

  9. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Dean I concur with you 100% don’t think for 1 minute I’m defending anyone …not long ago we had Ghost Town breaking down it was a serious lost… plans were huge going forward one could actually fit a size 5 soccer ball into the potholes had one only saw the divots prior to racing they either postpone or cancel the meeting…unfortunately we were fighting a loosing battle the following day after showing them clear evidence that the track was suicidal to race on

  10. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Donald once could argue the point if international jocks do it on a regular base why can’t our boys do it how many times have I seen the old school jocks do it there’s no doubt that it gives one a much better view on racing riding…I must be absolutely crazy if I got to wager a bet before the 1st Race has run I need to know exactly how the track is running… great example was on Wednesday when Effortless Reward won it came as no surprise to see it win had one saw the 2 sprints earlier on one would understand that if you got a lenght or 2 to your advantage it would be extremely difficult to peg back the leader… it’s all your small factors that one can only benefit from that’s the diff between your top jocks… split seconds could determine the outcome of a result…I absolutely agree that there was negligents on their behalf justice must be done

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