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Owners Are Ready To Call It Quits

Tensions in East Cape racing

The simmering discontent and strike action by sectors of the Fairview Grooms has elicited the attention of Phumelela and the Department of Labour.

While the Yvette Bremner yard is still effectively under access lockdown and at a stalemate with their Grooms, a meeting has been convened by government and the racing operator with all employees on Wednesday morning.

Happier days – Wayne Agrella salutes (from l to r) Yvette Bremner, Hedley McGrath and Carl Hewitson (Pic – Pauline Herman Photography)

The Sporting Post spoke to owner Hedley McGrath this morning for an update on the unfortunate situation.

He told us that more horses had been sent away resulting in further empty boxes at the Dippin Blu yard.

“We are wiling to follow all due process and accommodate reason. However, an informal committee has ‘decreed’ that only Yvette Bremner, Juhanay Nel, Carl Hewitson and Rocky Agrella are allowed to work with our horses. This has resulted in a tense and traumatic situation across the racing centre, and put these hardworking horseloving folk under severe pressure. Long hours are being worked to ensure that our horses are given the care that they deserve and are used to. I will say again that it is a sad day when anarchy prevails above the rule of law,” said an emotional Hedley, who questioned whether the anguish and strain associated with the game was worth the rewards.

“It is times like these that one questions the downside. Like last week, Elusive Fountain won a handicap on the Fairview polytrack. The first cheque was R29 000 less 21% deductions. Work it out. The mathematics don’t balance anymore. Talk to any trainer you want to. Even the top guys. We are expected to live with the stakes cuts, keep subsidising and  absorbing the pain. Something is out of kilter,” he added.

The Sporting Post has learnt that certain other high profile owners have added their voice of support, and are willing to relinquish their privileges if no solution is reached soon.

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26 comments on “Owners Are Ready To Call It Quits

  1. jai says:

    its about time the dept of labour got involved.
    clever owners will quite investing in racing .unless you willing to do your cash cold blooded you will continue with this sinking so called sport of kings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  2. SAGA says:

    I believe that if you are a human being, you have to understand any mistake is possible whom ever you are.

    The problem of that Trainer in EC is treating the Grooms as she can not make a mistake even herself.

    1. The bottom of a problem in EC is that Trainer instructed two grooms to fix up the ears of a Horse, thereafter a started to not enjoy a Scissors and resulted a Horse got injured.

    2. A Trainer decided to fired that groom was fixed a Horse with a Scissors as if it was not a mistake that was caused by a Horse, according to the Trainer it was caused by a groom.

    3. That is where the Grooms were started to angry all of them, because it looks like a Horse is important more than groom because there are millions of grooms were injured and died by the Horses and his or her Trainer took no action.

    4. Therefore the grooms in EC are claiming that groom who fired must be back at work immediately because the reason of dismissal is not valid.

    Therefore the solution is that Trainer must reinstate that groom and she must understand that any horse is an animal so it’s not easy to enjoy all equipments.


    Good evening Mr. Editor ….and now, who’s fabricating the story ?

    Did a previous blogger not ask how come an arrest wasn’t made yet !

    Is this what it’s come too ?

  4. Lukhanyo Notshe says:

    I hope for a speedily solution and all those involved come to their senses. The sooner the better this gets resolved.

  5. Shanil says:

    Always two sides to a story. Grooms version needs investigating. Thought stabbing a horse by a groom seems very strange.

  6. Ugie says:

    Guys, the truth please. Stabbing a horse as opposed to a horse getting cut while trimming the hair off the ears to make the horse look neat for racing purpose is the difference between night and day. Headley , the real truthful timeline of events that got to this point needs to be clarified. Please provide pictures of the stabbed horse . What was reported by you and what the SAGA says is completely different. Please respond with proof eg pics of the stabbed horse or a vet report.
    If this groom was fired because of a mistake while trimming the horses ears then I am afraid that you and Mrs Bremner needs to apologize.
    If this groom stabbed the horse , then he needs to be fired and charged and never be allowed to work with horses again.

  7. Brian says:

    SAGA, there are better ways to achieve your wishes than this. This way makes people angry with you. If it wasn’t for the fact that 30 years ago people could sit around a table and talk where would we be now?

    So talk!

  8. Gman says:

    I agree the public needs clarity on this.There is always two sides to a story.I agree to put the public at ease why not publish a vet report or pictures for everyone to see what really happened.What does the groom gain from stabbing the horse?

  9. Donald says:

    S.A.G.A. states ” Millions of grooms were injured and died by the horses ” !

    Now that is NOT a factual statement !

    That statement alone tells me that S.A.G.A. has no idea what they are supposed to be commenting on ?

  10. Anthony says:

    SAGA and Unions correctly want due process but inturn do not follow the same principles and laws when agieved. Responding by extortion in an industry under financial pressure will lead to further unemloyment. Maybe an option when this happens is the unions buying racehorses, either as trainers or owners and enjoying the thrills and the profits?.

  11. Gman says:

    let us not mess around with grammer errors “millions of grooms”.What SAGA is saying does make sense regarding the instruction given by the trainer and what happened to the horse.Until and if an investigation has been done and both sides of the story has been heard let us not point fingers to who was wrong or right.Violence has no place in society but when you are cornered and victimized that is the only way some ppl feel their greivances will be heard..

  12. Michael Jacobs says:

    Can Sporting Post undertake to get the truth and proof of what actually transpired at the Bremner stable? These comments from all the parties are causing controversy and vitriol. As a responsible and admired publication, you can provide ypur readers with the truth. Thank you

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Michael
      The only party speaking to us is the stable.
      The rest have rejected any request for a response – beyond SAGA response last night.
      The matter is ongoing and at a sensitive stage.
      The SP talks to anybody and will give all sides of the story.
      Please rest assured that we will provide all sides as it is made available to us.
      This morning’s meeting was postponed due to travel logistics. Fyi

  13. Alwyn says:

    If using a scissors to trim a horses ears how does one accidently stab a horse if the scissors is being used correctly. Scissors should be used pointing up not down so that if the horse does throw his head the hand is bumped first and the scissors pushed away from the horse.

  14. gops naicker says:

    truth be told . the owners trainers and jockeys are not getting their dues in game.that y it is at its lowest point. thus the punters has no more confidence in the results we are seeing .
    let’s keep it real. we can see wat is happening.

    let’s wait for the facts to come out on the above mentioned incident

  15. Mboni says:

    Until the story of the racing stables is told by the grooms, the tale of the racing stables will always glorify the trainer/owner….

  16. Steve Reid says:

    I received a whatsapp photo of the horses injury and its a significant wound nowhere near the ear.

    Simoto there are times when the political grandstanding needs to end and the right thing needs to happen. The member that stabbed that horse does not deserve to be anywhere near a horse and it would be in everyone’s interest, including yours, to remove this undesirable out of racing totally.

  17. SAGA says:

    Hi Steve.

    We respect your comment, and we do agree with you that if someone stabbing a Horse in Stable that is not acceptable and that person need to be charged and fired or arrested, because a Horse is an animal and does not know how to talk.

    What we posted yesterday is the information that was given by the Grooms PE.

    Also we very glad that tomorrow will be a meeting between parties in particular the Government will be part of that meeting, so we believe that the truth and solution will be available to all of us.

  18. Dennis says:

    According to Steve Reid he received a wattsapp photo of the injury
    is it not possible to show the public the photo, I’m sure if the public sees the photo they can use their own discretion.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Dennis
      We indicated earlier that we would prefer not to publish it here.

  19. Gman says:

    SP can publish 5 guys posing with guns but cant show the image of the stab wound.WoW!!!

  20. Donald says:

    Agree with Gman ,s point above as that photo by permission of the owner of the horse will tell its own story but the question must also be asked ” where is the N.H.R.A. in this matter ” ?

  21. killer says:

    Donald – you forget the NHRA is the spineless jellyfish sticking its poisonous tentackles out, looking who they can catch and charge with “a contravention of Rule 72.1.25”

    Thats an instant R 4 000 to R 15 000 in the pocket that cant be overlooked.

    ALL other SERIOUS issues like this and MANY more on SP take the back seat in search of above rule.

    A No confidence vote for them and ALL in charge of it – they care not for Horse, Owner, Punter or Industry that feeds them.


    A new caretaker for the industry is URGENTLY needed.

  22. Gavin Langeveldt says:

    Can you at least publish the Vet report.
    I don’t think you’re being transparent.
    There’s no way that a trainer will dismiss a groom for accidently cutting a horses ear during the ear trimming process.
    Something amiss.
    Anyway, it’s a sad state of affairs.

  23. Elwin says:

    Produce the evidence. Surely, there are photographs, vets reports,. Everyone is guessing, make your comments when you have the Evidence in front of you..

  24. Victor van Wyk says:

    With such expensive animals theres suppose to be cameras at all work places.if that is the case then why all the dought of what real took place.

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