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Frustrated Owner Goes Public On NHRA

'How did this get past your rules, Mr Hyde?'

Loyal racing folk Dorrie & Mark Sham with Rocky Agrella and Chris Taylor

A clearly frustrated owner Mark Sham tells the Sporting Post that he is ready to do what it takes to get the NHRA to answer for apparent double standards, a lack of accountability and perplexing unilateral decisions.

In an open letter, the longstanding racing man writes an open letter after apparently having had no response to his calls

Certain things have been bugging me for a while but it finally took Mr Hyde’s response to a default judgement to push me to write this letter.

I will be bringing 3 issues to your attention but have so many more in my head it will take more than this email to get to.

We are all in racing , which is one of the most expensive hobbies anyone can have, for mainly one thing…..passion !

Unfortunately the NHRA seem hellbent on trying to get rid of the people that are keeping the game on its rickety legs.

1 My wife was found guilty of a “positive out of competition “ test taken from a horse in her care despite the NHA vet even coming out in her favor. At great expense to NHRA a long inquiry was held and she was given a hefty fine. This was put out in a press release by NHRA and my wife was vilified on social media being called amongst others a “drug artist” and “shouldn’t be allowed to hold a license” . It cost us R10 000 to defend this and NHRA sent an email to turn around this finding. To date no press release or retraction or apology has been printed by NHA so in the minds of the public she still has this stigma.

2 As per NHRA rules a transport company went through a 9 month R20 000 journey to get a default judgement on a colour holder whose debt is more than 2 years old only to have Mr Hyde decide on his own that he won’t default the owner. This person does not only owe the transport company but many others too. It is this total lack of support that allows people to just run up bills then default.

3 A work rider gets injured in a race under NHRA rules but then it’s discovered that there is no insurance for them. It becomes his own issue to get medical care and wages while he can’t work. How did this get past your rules Mr Hyde?

Mr Moodley, I have tried to call you 5 times with not even a message back from you. At least Phumelela and RA return your calls and queries.

I know you see us as small owners and trainers but please don’t treat us like mushrooms and think we are below being treated with respect.

Mark Sham

Vee Moodley replies:

Dear Mr Sham,

The issues that you raise fall under the jurisdiction of Mr Arnold Hyde – Executive Director: Racing Control and I believe that he has been communication with yourself.

I am aware of his responses and concur with his approach. It’s almost impossible for me to attend to every query that my Executive team are currently attending to. You need to understand and appreciate that my role is also very strategic and operational matters DO NOT fall directly within my mandate and I only INTERVENE when the NEED arises. This is not warranted in these scenarios you raise

I certainly DO NOT discriminate and never did. I take umbrage to you comments of “treating you as mushrooms”.

Thank you

Vee Moodley

Mark Sham responds:

Mr Hyde has not been in contact with me.

If you just replied to one of my calls this letter would not have been necessary. You are well aware of how upset I was over the positive.

What do you as The Head aim to do about the bad debt in racing? Surely this serious matter falls under your mandate? It’s the biggest cause of problems in racing and you don’t see it as serious enough?

I take umbrage at the rules of NHRA being used on a discriminatory basis.

Mark Sham

Vee Moodley replies:

Mr Hyde, is the correct person to deal with. Upon receipt of this response he shall respond.

We shall NOT intervene in “business relationships” between Trainers and Owners other than what our current rules allow.

Thank you

Vee Moodley

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36 comments on “Frustrated Owner Goes Public On NHRA

  1. Anand says:

    Penns shud b upgraded….
    No emergency horses .scratching is a scratching.mist time punters study days b4 ..then1 is scratched. The emergency acceptor and wins …knocks most out….

  2. jae says:

    mr sham
    regarding the work rider and groom incordant.
    my advise as a observer of horseracing you should aproach the dept of labour for advise .they would assist you well and investigate the nha and the other boards because the people that administrate racing do not meet the minimum health and saftey requirements for these people.
    regarding your issues with mr hyde and moodley its about time your trainers .owners.jockeys stood up against them they are there to work against yourll and not with yourll this seem to be a very unpleasant business enviroment which does not help improve the sport of racing .in the last few weeks there has always been talks about the nha and the racing operators how disgusting.it seems like yourll have and incompatant board controlling racing

  3. Pieta says:

    The controllers of SA racing……..the term “elevated out of my standing” comes to mind. Sad. Where did these people come from?

  4. GoBoyGo says:

    There seems to be no control here as the biggest issue is that the sport itself seems to be run by people who are only in it for the fortune rather than the passion…. SA Horse Racing need a leadership or direction assessment and they need it now….It’s so evident to see that the big players run this house but nobody wants to admit it…. Yes this a money orientated sport but if we only focus on the money, we going to end up without a beautiful sport……

  5. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    They just built the Ivory tower taller…..Its frightening what these men with many hats are doing. Do they understand the damage they are doing with just a few words. The arrogance is alarming as to how they treat the one’s dodging the car crash called SA racing. This is not how a professional outfit should engage or work. Its like they enjoy the rancour they cause. It must be a power thing. How much do these people take out of the game as opposed to the value they put in ? The man on the street is watching with tears in their eyes….Tie up the other post on this thread and it sounds personal. The cabal is protecting its own it seems and racing is suffering ( really sounds like the ANC template )…

  6. Paul says:

    Curious about the positive. If I am to understand correctly, Trainer Sham was found guilty and a hefty fine imposed. Was that finding then successfully appealed? If so, then I agree fully that the NHRA should publish details of the appeal.

    Ed, please advise.

  7. Paul says:

    Reference is made to it being found that “there is no insurance for them” (the work rider). Is it the position that the NHRA or some other entity arranges the rider insurance (for work riders)?

    I ask the question as, on my reading of Rule 23, the onus is on the rider to have adequate medical aid and insurance cover (whilst there is clearly an onus on the NHRA to check that such cover is in place).

  8. Brian says:

    Strategy & operational
    Wow, Mr Moodily. with all due respect, you can BS some of the people some of the time with those words of self importance, but you can’t BS all of the people all of the time.
    Taking into consideration the sport is not doing to well your “strategy” doesn’t seem to be in place because “operationally” all one reads about is NHRA,s high handedness in treating the good member’s with disrespect, being downright disgusting to good people .

    What big words Mr Moodley, but that’s all they are. Where’s the action, strategically speaking of course

  9. JamesDH says:

    Governing bodies are lazy and only service the wealthy

  10. Horseboss says:

    Vee and Arnold doing what I’ve always said, applying double standards…. These are the same two that I think should be taken out of their positions as these two individuals are bringing the game into direspute, a contravention of their own rules… Who questions these guys???

    The board should have a inquiry opened into this matter

  11. Ralph Fell. says:

    The use of capital letters in Moodley’s responses to Mr. Sham’s entreaties smacks of a headmaster castigating a learner. They are high handed and reveal an arrogance that I can personally attest to. There is no spirit of Ubuntu and he and Mr. ‘It’s an honour and a privilege’ Wainstein do South African racing a disservice. Having just read the article about the SAJA and the high esteem in which they are held, made me realise all the sterling work carried on behind the scenes by unsung heroes. Sadly it is the unsavoury behaviour of individuals with agendas that is forever in the news.

  12. Cas says:

    Zimbabwe is left with Borrowdale only….can anybody tell me which course in South Africa will operate in 2023? Turfontein, Durbanville or the Vaal?…Cas

  13. Siva says:

    Well its a pity your name is not de kock or Tarry.I bet one of these guys would have received a telephonic reply an email and a press release together with official apologies.

  14. Rian says:

    Urgent need, Investigative journalist please!!!!!

  15. Steve Reid says:

    Good luck with 72.1.26 Shams, if Arnold Hyde doesn’t charge you with bringing the NHA into disrepute after this, then you have to ask how 72.1.26 can be used against any owner going forward. This may just exposes himself as the man I know he is through personal experience – a puppet.

    Lets ask this question. If the NHA don’t want to become involved in business relationships between owners and suppliers, I am presuming the same can be said of problems between owners not paying trainers, vets, farriers, etc. Why should owners even be licenced then? Trainers can on behalf of owners as they do in other areas such as nominations and acceptances. My thoughts are this is just a money making thing, and at the end of the day this regulator is exposed as the toothless institute that it is.

  16. Paul says:

    Mr Reid, sadly I understand you have personal experience with this onerous and ridiculously wide Rule – and with Mr Hyde.

    Mr Sham says he is prepared to do what is necessary. Perhaps, then, it would be no bad thing if he were to be charged. I would love to see what the Courts make of this particular Rule!

    Whilst I have reservations and questions regarding certain conclusions made, his right to make statements which he considers true, must be protected. Simple sense tells one that this Rule should be used only in the most serious circs – and certainly not to silence free speech (laws of defamation are in place where necessary).

    1. Editor says:

      Mr Sham just called

      @Paul please tell me what happens when a bank gets judgement.You automatically go on to blacklist until you have your judgement rescinded.
      No stories with nonsense of applying to have Judge rescind.
      Mr X did not appeal judgement with NHRA like a jockey can.
      Two years of communicating with Mr X and 9 months of legal letters – and you don’t understand it.
      He signed for the Sheriff notice so was well aware it was going forward.

      @James, trainers and breeders are owed thosuands more.

  17. Dorrie Sham says:

    Hi Paul,
    I was charged for an out of competition positive incorrectly as NHA had changed their rules after the test was taken. It’s a long story which I have previously written on SP. I was castigated even further but that’s water under the bridge. Suffice to say that I was supported by the vet.

    We had to pay an attorney to “make 1 call” to NHA to explain “the mistake” and the positive was reversed. It didn’t even go to appeal .

    Again…as a family, we are heavily invested in this game that we all love and want to protect and carry on. My sons have just raised 2 truck loads of feed to take to drought stricken areas. Mark and I continue to help the ECHCU every year. So it’s not just about money ….

    Hope this clarifies your query?


  18. Dorrie and Mark Sham says:

    Steve, from your lips to Gods ears. If you talking the truth it can’t be bringing racing into disrepute. I want to get all my issues with them on the table.


  19. Paul says:

    Dear Dorrie

    Yes, it certainly does – thank you for taking the time to respond. Clearly this should have been the subject of an NHRA press release and you are owed an apology – also by the many commenters that sought fit to villify you without knowledge of the full facts. Had Mark advised as you have, there would have been no reason to query.

    I am in the legal field and look at these things from that rather pedantic viewpoint. My great gripe is precisely that comments are made without full facts: I find the NHRA press releases wholly inadequate for anyone to form an objective view. But as you found out at great personal cost, that does not stop the haters (look at the comments made about Steph Miller and her alleged use of the cattle prod – without a shred of evidence of use).

    As to the New Turf matter, I was simply trying to provide some form of balanced comment: again from my admittedly pedantic and legalistic approach, in the interest of informed views being reached. Happily I have no connection to the NHRA or Mr Hyde – and Mr Goodman’s comment is simply laughable.

    Really enjoy your comments re your runners and applaud your openness.

  20. Steve Reid says:

    Mark believe me that regardless of whether you are truthful in your postings or not, if it offends the wrong people, it has and will result in 72.1.26 charges against you. I am a 3 x veteran of this so know what I am talking about. I don’t believe that the reason for charging me was ever to gain clarity into what I said, it was rather to shut me up. We can discuss when we meet again. Unfortunately the kangaroo court that is the NHA Inquiry room, hold all the aces and you are onto a hiding to nothing as you are forced to play by their archaic and very one-sided rules. Getting challenged in an open court of law would be worth the time and money if nothing else, just to get discovery answers pre-trial.

    As discussed with Dorrie earlier, I wish you guys well. Protect yourselves at all times, you know that there will be repercussions.

  21. Brian says:

    Ed, regarding a note 11h51. There is simply a process for applying for a rescission in a court of law. If that goes against you and you have the money, you can go higher.

    What is not clear are the specific details of Mr Sham’s claim, dates etc, and whether or not anyone at the NHRA, assisted Mr X in his application for rescission.

    If anyone at NHRA did, then oh boy!

    Mr Sham, if X did not follow correct procedure, he will lose his application for rescission. Simple, and believe me, as a retired advocate, they are not easy to win.
    If the application was granted against you, deal with through your attorneys. You haven’t lost yet by any means

    In so far as you highlighting the NHRA, brilliant!

    Even if you lose at least we are understanding how pathetic they have become

  22. J S Coetzer says:

    It’s a crying shame to read about this behavior as a punter.

  23. Jac says:

    I leave my comment for Dorrie Sham.
    My dear lady, either you or I live in la la land.
    Guilty records do not vanish at the jockey club.
    Without an appeal or review process and your conviction being officially set aside, you remain guilty.
    Your guilty record remains.
    If your positive finding was resolved by the jockey club by your attorney making 1 call to the jockey club and it having acknowledged it was a mistake and reversed the positive, horse racing has serious problems.
    There is something called due process and the rule of law.
    I think that you may have had the wool pulled over your eyes. If not, I live in la la land.
    How do we trust the jockey club if you are correct?
    What you have raised needs investigation and clarification.
    Can the Ed query this for us and report back?

    1. Editor says:

      Jac, will ask Vee Moodley to clarify status of that matter

  24. Paul says:

    Ed: assuming that the guilty finding was indeed quashed based on there having been an NHRA error, please ask Mr Moodley to point out the Rule used for such action: and also, why no Press Release (and an apology) waa made.

    1. Editor says:

      Have done so Paul

  25. Brian says:

    Ja, Stephen I read your piece. I’m so surprised the NHRA has been taken up in a real court. It costs I know but I have read so many stories/comments in this forum the decisions that come from the kangaroo court no longer amaze me. They are a sense of humour and if it wan’t so serious from Mr Sham’s point of view it would be a source of comedy.

    I wrote in this forum how every week I think of getting back into the game and how every week something stupid comes out such as this, that makes me say, no ways.

    I am still so surprised that the horse racing community, in a time of need rally together and raise good sums of money to help a fellow man .

    Yet, in my view, this is a time of need for horse racing overall, no one has got these guys out, and if they can’t, collected a sum of money for a legal action.

    A rule made on the spur of the moment by a school prefect or by a person with school prefect mentality never stands up in the real justice system

  26. Sarvan says:

    I’m trying to understand how a CEO does strategy and absolves himself from operational issues.There are two things wrong here, one is, as the man in charge you cannot say operational issues are not for you, that is ultimately your baby. Secondly, if your strategic vision and policy are in order then there wouldn’t be a need for ‘issues’ in operations or at the very least this should be handled, without any fuss, in the normal course of business. A stake holder called you 5 times, if that is indeed the case, surely your so called ‘strategy’ should say, let’s have the decency to return and discuss the matter with your stakeholder. These things are not rocket science, you don’t need strategic vision or even a degree to deal with these issues, it’s called common courtesy and respect. Treat people with respect and you wont have issues. Regulatory bodies are not supposed to be in the spotlight, if you did your jobs as how it should be done, then the spotlight will fall on the real heroes, our horses!!!

  27. Editor says:

    The Sporting Post has had sight of an email from Hazel Kayiya to a Breeder regarding the same Mr X – the mail is from the NHRA wherein it confirms that on 25 March the breeder emailed Vee Moodley seeking assistance with the collection of o/s debt.
    Mr Moodley replied same day and referred the matter to the Racing Control Exec and Racing Admin Exec.
    On 26 March 2019 an email was despatched from the NHRA Racing Control to the breeder where it is stated that ito rule 97.2 any person notifying the NHRA CEO of a default or arrear is required to substantiate it to the CEO and tender the prescribed fee of R3 820, per individual matter, together with a copy of the default judgement that has been obtained in respect of racing-related debts.
    It said that no default judgement had yet been submitted in this matter.
    It records further that at a Stud Book Committee meeting held on 10 June 2019, the matter of non payment of fees by owners was tabled.
    The minutes record that a discussion was held for Stud Book to include a clause in the rules to allow breeders to change ownership of horses in the event of non-payment.
    The Committee concluded the discussion by agreeing that the request is a legal matter.
    It was decided that the status quo should remain and that the breeders should approach the NHRA with a default judgement and then the NHRA would assist in enforcing this.

  28. Ian says:

    Well said Sarvan.

    This debacle proves yet again that there are unqualified, unprofessional employees within the NHRA who have clearly been promoted beyond their levels of competence.

    For starters I think a few lessons in common respect would not go amiss.

    A few courses in basic management skills would also go long way.

    Once again – yet another PR blunder by the NHRA.

  29. Editor says:

    The Sporting Post has had sight of a letter from the NHRA dated 13 February 2017 that confirms that the inquiry into the horse Mr Hansen of 10 November 2016 was reviewed by an Inquiry Review Board on 3 February 2017.

    It states that the Inquiry Review Board set aside the findings and the penalties imposed, including the directive in regard to costs and the bringing into effect of the prior suspended penalty.
    We have no record of a press release having been issued by the NHRA in this regard.

    Find hereunder the original press release of the guilty finding:

  30. Paul says:

    Ed, any response forthcoming from Mr Moodley?

    1. Editor says:

      No, Paul

  31. Mark Sham says:

    Mr Moodley took umbrage at my “mushroom” comment but to date I’ve had no response from either him or Mr Hyde re the above queries….
    Maybe they are being “ostriches that hide their heads in the sand”

  32. espresso says:

    why are dorrie sham yard not producing anything on the track?they srt the stage alight after moving from Fve but that form had never been reproduced
    Your stable is completrly unreliable from a punters standpoint

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