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Fairview – NHRA Rejects Peaceful Protest

'Nobody in authority cares' - Owner

Horseracing is not about horses and the people that love them. It’s about revenue streams and hard business. The sport’s leaders also lack basic compassion, sympathy and empathy.

That’s the sentiment expressed by International Racing Club spokesman Mike de Haast, who spoke to the Sporting Post this morning from Summerveld.

The International Racing Club is one of the owners to have been directly impacted upon by the events of last Thursday at Fairview in the Eastern Cape.

Mr De Haast had just received the news in a call from KZN Chief Stipe Deanthan Moodley, that the National Horseracing Authority would not permit the global syndicate to run their horses in club black silks as a peaceful protest in sympathy with the horses and human beings that had suffered from Fairview’s Black Thursday.

“We were informed that Mr Vee Moodley had instructed Mr Arnold Hyde to issue instructions to scratch our runners, should we opt to wear the club black silks. It is disappointing that, based on the sensitivities of the past few days, that Mr Vee Moodley failed to provide us with the courtesy of even a telephone call to convey the decision. The manner of the action says a lot about a lot,” added De Haast, who pointed out that the protest request was an effort to show empathy in a passive and peaceful manner.

“The irony is that at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday, our trainer Doug Campbell was told by the Stipes that they knew nothing about the intended show of alliance with those that suffered and they were not comfortable with the idea. So rather than act like bullies or spoilt children, we agreed to step down and compromised as they undertook to revert to us today. Now they reject our suggestion without due consideration. It’s heavy handed, frankly.”

The Sporting Post is aware that a request from another trainer at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday, who wanted a jockey to race with a black armband, was also rejected.

Mr De Haast added that the NHRA’s declining of their request was not the end of the line and the IRC would seek other means to ensure that Thursday 17 September 2020 would not be buried by those who preferred to treat it as something that never really happened, or a convenient private dispute.

He added that anybody in horseracing who stood up legally for principles and what they believed was right, was quickly treated as a pariah.

“Some folk have pointed fingers at Hedley McGrath. Let me state categorically that Hedley is not a lawbreaker. It’s just not in his nature. His investment in horseracing is massive and his success in business and life is about organisation and order. Yet following due process, as he did, and even with a High Court Order, he failed to receive protection. It’s a bizarre injustice that we have had beautiful animals maimed and killed, human beings traumatized and job losses suffered. Yvette Bremner is a horselover. An asset to the game in any country on earth. Yet she is now lost to the sport. There has not been a telephone call – an offer of trauma counselling. Nothing. Nobody in authority cares. It’s as simple as that and I’m sorry, that is not acceptable or sustainable in my heart and mind.”

The Sporting Post was informed by a source that a peaceful protest at Fairview on Saturday by a handful of horselovers remembering the deceased Mark The Doorman, was dispersed by the SAPS after five minutes with rubber bullets reportedly being fired. This is being verified.

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6 comments on “Fairview – NHRA Rejects Peaceful Protest

  1. waynefouche says:

    What a disgrace. Mr. Moodley you have shown once again that you are not the right person to hold the position you do. Everything is your way or no way. As for the police action at the peaceful protest
    – how dare they fire rubber bullets at people standing quietly protesting when the previous day they did absolutely nothing.

  2. Leon Lotz says:

    I trained for Hedley in Kimberley, because of him my grooms got salary increases.There aint many owners that looks after a trainers stable the way he did look after my stable, people came first and al he wanted in return was that his horses were looked after.I stand with Hedley and Evette.It is shamefull to try and make Thursdays events off as nothing.Peoples lives were in danger. If Evette was your wife or daughter would you also say nothing happened?Think again

  3. Kenny Masilela says:

    Top call by the NHA, so Vee is supposed to call everyone who wants to do their own thing now?

  4. Brett Maselle says:

    Time and time again we find senior management and directors of the NHA not knowing the rules they are supposed to administer and follow.

    The NHA has no right to scratch a horse for a failure to wear the colours of the owner/s. Also, see the Guidelines for the Penalty Ranges regarding Contraventions of the Rules of The National Horseracing Authority at https://www.nhra.co.za/index.php/guidelines-for-the-penalty

    Just because you are a regulator doesn’t mean that you have to behave like an uncouth despot.

  5. Michael Jacobs says:

    Did the International Racing Club not engage their fellow owners and trainers to participate in this protest? Surely if all the big yards in PE supported this protest, the NHA couldn’t scratcb all the horses?! Unity is required and a facing up to the adversaries is what is required!

  6. Joao Da Mata says:

    We have received many messages of support and solidarity however there are many in the game that have not said a single word.

    Again racing has divided itself. Thats why Mike states in his interview that its all about the “show” and money. There is plenty empathy for the horse and we know who those people are BUT there is also plenty out there that claim to love horses and have not said 1 word.

    So even though Im still trying to gather the numbers for SABOAT , I now know why its such a challenge. Some people in racing just don’t like and support many others in racing.

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