A determined East Cape trainer Yvette Bremner saddled her runners at Fairview on Friday against all the odds and still managed a winner, despite a harrowing few days of striking Grooms.
The Dippin Blu Team, including leading owner Hedley McGrath, and the rest of the non-striking Bremner personnel, ensured that their five runners honoured their commitments on a Fairview turf card that only boasted 74 runners over the eight races.
The Bremner runners, led by Yvette and her assistants, were accompanied on the walk to the racetrack by armed security officers from Nitrous Security.
The two officers, Jan-Hendrik and Vicky (seen above), enjoyed the rare honour of leading in a winner while on duty, after Dippin’ Blu Racing’s Fat Frank-sponsored jockey Wayne Agrella rode a peach of a race to secure the honours on the Twice Over gelding Duology in the sixth.
The winner is owned by top SA partnership, Braam van Huyssteen and Hedley McGrath.
The circumstances that led to the bizarre events that overshadowed the well-intended Valentine’s Day fun at Fairview are another scar on the SA racing landscape, and owner Hedley McGrath, a major patron of the game in this country, said that ‘things could not continue the way they had happened’.
The Sporting Post has pieced together, after discussions with various sources, that a Groom employed by Yvette Bremner had allegedly stabbed the unraced BSA Nationals graduate Calgary, a Maine Chance Farms bred son of Drakenstein stallion Futura, last week.
We are in possession of a photograph, which we have opted not to publish.
At a subsequent disciplinary hearing, the Groom was found guilty of the violent act on the defenceless animal and dismissed.
The rest of the Dippin Blu Grooms then apparently demanded their dismissed colleague’s reinstatement, leading to a strike and the threat that they would not tolerate any other staff assisting the Bremner team.
“There are a lot of things that have upset me about the game in recent years, but we get over the mini crisis and move on. But this is simply not acceptable. Violence towards these beautiful animals. Then being held to ransom when due process is followed. Then the threat of further violence and intimidation. Owners spend a fortune on the game and provide the employment opportunities for thousands of people. This is a hobby and supposed to be a pleasure for me and many of my partners. I personally am seriously reconsidering my position,” said an emotional Hedley McGrath, who added that the Bremner team, Phumelela, the SAPS and Nitrous Security had been of great assistance at a testing time.
We await comment from Phumelela, the NHA and other leading trainers. This story continues…watch this space