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‘Petty’ KZN Stipes Frustrate Trainers

'They are not acting in racing's best interests' - trainer

The NHA in KZN are focussing on petty antiquated rules rather than the more important issues at play.

This was the general consensus of opinion from trainers spoken to by the Sporting Post after it was noted that the Stipes report of the racemeeting at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday contained an unprecedented over 50 verbal warnings issued to trainers for not saddling their runners in the front boxes at the parade ring.

Here’s the report – scroll to Greyville 9 February

Trainers are entitled to request permission via email from the Stipes prior to the meeting for authority to saddle their horses at the back. Even these trainers were ‘advised that in future they should saddle in front’.

A happy horse at Hollywoodbets Greyville (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

A senior trainer said that it is a fact that the average racehorse on raceday is an animal very susceptible to the mechanics, sounds and oddities of his environment.

“We arrive on course on average four hours prior to the race. If we saddle them at the back, they are generally quieter and more relaxed. The question should be asked – is it in the horse and the punter and owner’s best interests to have the runner saddled in the front boxes? To whose advantage is it? Certainly not for the punting public when a favourite walks into the ring sweating and hyped up!”

He pointed out that it was noisier in the front –  there were speakers and people around. The horses also see the parade ring as a further trigger.

“So we risk them freshing and kicking out in the boxes, maybe sustaining injury and generally getting upset. Nobody gains from this draconian rule and the Stipes seem to be getting some kind of authoritarian kick out of flexing their muscle about an  rule that has always been the subject of some leniency at other racecourses. But if you don’t really understand or appreciate horses, how would you grasp the impact of this logistic?”

Another suggested that the Stipes had enough time on their hands to visit the area at the back saddling area.

“What are they suspecting will happen and what are they doing in that time anyway? There are enough of them to ensure the interests of the horse  come first and that inspections are carried out if they deem it necessary.”

The sentiment of anger and frustration was universal with another trainer saying that the requirement that the horse was in the parade ring by the designated time was all that was vitally important.

“It’s petty and aggravating and another example of how the NHA often chooses to work against stakeholders, rather than with us all in the ultimate best interests of horse and rider – and the punting public. Where is the consultation and where are the open lines of communication? Racing can ill afford this short-sighted heavy handed approach.”

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4 comments on “‘Petty’ KZN Stipes Frustrate Trainers

  1. Donald says:

    What a lot of junk in this article , horses have for years been saddled in front of the public at Scottsville and Greyville in the boxes designed for this purpose and at Clairwood 10 meters from the public before they walked in touching distance right in front of you into the parade ring with NO ISSUES at all ?

    What has changed all of a sudden as described by this trainer ?

    The front saddle boxes at Greyville and Scottsville have become ” ghost towns ” !

    The stipes are correct , saddle your horses in front of the public and parade in front of the grandstands to at least the 200 meter mark so that we who pay your salaries can assess the horse/s we want to select on what we see in front of us !

    Trainers who cannot for some reason follow this procedure must get written permission from the stipes before the race meeting and the public advised which horse/s will saddle out back and which horse/s will not parade !

    If no written permission has been received hefty fines must be imposed the trainers that do not comply !

  2. Frankie says:

    Frankie Frankie…Saddling of a horse there should only be 1 answer,,do what’s ever best for the animal,,if it’s done behind the backs of officials and the public and a horse happens to play up it should be reported immediately to a stipe and a anounce should be made immediately 95% of the time when saddling horses it normally goes well..Owners/Trainers only want the best possible result for his or her horse…unfair for outsiders to comment on I would think…parading and the canter down for me is much more important than the saddling of a horse…majority of horses are very sencible and are well schooled

  3. Andre D. says:

    Unsurprisingly the trainers who complain are not named or they have asked Sporting Post not to be named. They have no courage of their convictions. If the trainers are not prepared to come out and stand for what they believe in, I am not interested in their plight and the NHRA should take the complaint with a pinch of salt without any lemon. If trainers do not like the rules, they can get them changed. They know what to do. It’s a relatively easy process. My suggestion to the trainers is to grow a pair and to approach the NHRA through a formal process for change and betterment. The NHRA will listen especially if the rule is antiquated. Until the rule has been repealed, the trainers must follow it. The NHRA has every right to act against a trainer who does not follow the rules.

  4. Mike Miles says:

    For the grammatically correct and the writer a consensus is an opinion. It’s not necessary to say consensus of opinion as per your second paragraph.

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