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Did NHRA Compliance Fail KZN Jockeys?

No riders - no racing

The news that a rider has returned positive Covid-19 genetic results has raised the ire of KZN jockeys, who apparently had a specific request to have all out-of-province riders tested and cleared prior to taking up engagements in the region, declined by Arnold Hyde, Racing Control Executive, who is also the designated Chief National Covid-19 Compliance Officer.

A statement doing the rounds today states  that ‘the NHA advises that (name withheld) have (sic)  returned positive Covid-19 Genetic results. He is feeling healthy, showing no current symptoms & are (sic) unlikely to get sick. Any person that has come into contact with him should self-isolate if showing any symptoms themselves. The Jockey room & areas surrounding is currently been disinfected’.

In a press release published on 3 June 2020, the NHRA declared that Mr Hyde’s appointment was intended to ‘facilitate that protocols and procedures are strictly adhered to, ensuring that Racing is conducted behind closed doors in a responsible and safe environment for all Stakeholders’.

As early as the first week of June, the KZN jockeys made representations to the KZN Chief Stipe to propose that visiting jockeys flying in for the popular SA Champions Season on the East Coast, be cleared by way of formal testing.

Hyde apparently rejected the request to formalise this requirement.

A jockey who spoke to the Sporting Post on Tuesday said that the anger felt locally was not about the specific matter of the recent positive, but the principle of the fact that what would have been an apparently relatively simple additional safety measure had been seemingly positively received at regional level and passed on to the higher authority, who rejected it for reasons unknown – whether costs or practicality, neither of which appear to be unreasonable.

“We are most dissatisfied that this seemingly very reasonable request to further protect ourselves was rejected by the NHRA. This puts the sport and individuals at unnecessary additional risk,” he added.

The fact remains that jockeys are the one key component without which racing cannot proceed.

And not taking every possible measure to ensure strict controls effectively places the individual riders and their livelihoods and families at risk – as well as also effectively placing the ‘behind closed doors’ racing in jeopardy.

A trainer often has an assistant, or could run his business remotely. When jockeys are in quarantine they are out of commission – full stop!

The Sporting Post has addressed an email to Mr Hyde asking for clarity and why he chose to reject the request.

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11 comments on “Did NHRA Compliance Fail KZN Jockeys?

  1. PL.NEL says:

    Basics have to, absolutely have to be adhered. This contravention is not acceptable,, our monies and our incomes are at stake. No excuse, this protocol bears only 2 results,,, in or out.

  2. bob kistnasamy says:

    The name of the affected jock is doing the “social media rounds”. Whilst the area is being decontaminated/sanitised, what are the quarantine protocols? Does this mean that all the jocks will go into quarantine. What are the testing protocols for the jockeys flying in from other centres.
    We are well aware that the Western Cape and Gauteng infection rate is the highest in South Africa and the movement of “horse racing personnel” to KZN poses a serious infection risk.
    Let’s hope that the Champions Season is not thrown into disarray.

  3. Viv Naidoo says:

    After the fact that it’s due to traveling that this particular virus has created such a terrible situation world wide; I cannot even think what this person Mr. Hyde was thinking (or not thinking) in order to dismiss the Jockeys request for visiting jockeys to be tested. Crazy!

  4. Nadine Backos says:

    Shocking that Mr Hyde did not follow all necessary protocols.He has put the whole industry at risk now.

  5. Jacques Wilkes says:

    This article was published by the online Citizen Newspaper on 27 June 2020.
    After reading the article you need to question yourself if horse racing has done anything like other sports to start competing.

    Since a jockey has been found to have partaken in a race meeting in KZN while Covid 19 positive and could have put other human beings at risk in contracting this killer disease, the NHA has done a disservice to horse racing and the country. It should never have happened. The NHA and its compliance did not do their duties.

    Can the NHA please inform all participants if it has complied with the Covid 19 regulations of the sports ministry and what plans it has in place to safeguard everyone in horse?

    The more I read, the more I doubt that horse racing gotthegreenlight from the department of sport.


    Seven more sports get the green light

    Wesley Botton

    Cricket, swimming, tennis, canoeing, gymnastics, angling and climbing have received approval from government to resume activities.

    Another seven codes have been cleared to resume activities, government has confirmed, as South African sport prepares for a return to action.

    Following the announcement earlier in the week that professional football teams had been approved to begin training, the sports ministry confirmed at the weekend that additional codes had also been given the green light.

    These included cricket, swimming, tennis, canoeing, angling, gymnastics and climbing.

    “These sport bodies have submitted their plans, indicating their state of readiness and their commitment to adhere to stringent health protocols that they will implement in accordance with the prescribed regulations and directions,” the department of sport, arts and culture said in a statement.

    While mass participation events were still suspended, professional contact sports had been cleared to resume training earlier this month, provided their health and safety plans were approved.

    Professional non-contact sports which had been approved would be allowed to resume competition.

    “We wish to humbly appeal to the rest of the sport sector to exercise patience and tolerance as we continue with the task of processing their plans,” the department said.

  6. Gerald Francis says:

    This is typical of the arrogance of some of the officials that work in this industry .
    It should have been a no brainer that all traveling jockeys be tested on arrival in the province to ride.Test results are also available in 48 hours.
    Goodbye Arnold Hyde……that should also be a no brainer…..

  7. Hylton Perumal says:

    In England all soccer players are tested twice a week.
    If horseracing is serious about health and safety matters regularly testing not screening should be mandatory
    If movement from hotshot zone this should be taken more seriously.
    It is more far reaching than horsinracing, we as the public, who live in Durban, can petition to ban these movements or even halt racing altogether, so the horseracing stakeholders should rather take this more seriously or the public can intervene.
    Movement from high risk areas are what caused this virus to spread world wide, do testing and restricted movements need to be in place when moving from high risk to lower risk zones.

  8. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    The NHRA is like watching how the ANC run South Africa……its shocking.

  9. Beverley says:

    I thought it was mandatory for all jockeys to be tested regardless. This is shocking to hear, and really sad for the industry. I hope this does not have an impact on racing, as one must wonder how many fellow jockeys came into contact with this individual and must now self-isolate for 2 weeks. Come on NHRA, step up and test the jockeys frequently. Cost of testing should not matter, cost of lives and livelihoods should.

  10. Avril Lerena says:

    In my opinion anything any jockey as an individual, or as an Association addresses to Arnold Hyde is totally disregarded and requests ALWAYS declined. No reason ever given – just NO. I will single Arnold Hyde out in this case as if you forward it to Vee Moodley you will be told his ‘team’ is handling the issue. In this case the NHA made an exception for this visiting jockey to ride in KZN as he had not ridden in any other Province during June. Would be interesting to know if all jockeys have gone for the Covid test. Gauteng jockeys did before they resumed riding.

  11. Preggie says:

    This is indeed sad news for the racing industry. Testing for COVID-19 comes before anything else, given the current situation we are in. The most important thing to note is, if this person came to KZN province testing positive or whilst he was here in the province. If he came with it from his home province, how was he allowed to travel without being tested. We need to be careful here. The bigger races are weeks away. Let us not throw this beautiful sport into disarray. In my opinion, the guilty party should be brought to book and reported to the COVID-19 authorities.

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