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Fairview – Passive Protest By UK-Based Owner

Has there been a lack of empathy by SA authorities?

The International Racing Club have instructed trainers of their SA-based horses to run in club colours black as a passive protest and a call to action by the National Horseracing Authority and Phumelela. This is a sequel to the events of SA Racing’s Tragic Thursday at Fairview in the Eastern Cape that made news around the world.

In a statement published on Saturday, the IRC state that the silence from the NHRA and Phumelela regarding the catastrophe in PE is ‘worrying’.

“Not a phone call or a message of empathy. So many lives affected and no press statement,” writes Joao Da Mata.

The statement goes on to say that the IRC have lost owners after this tragic event.

“They are UK based people and cannot even fathom what has happened. We have instructed all our trainers to race our horses in club colours black until we feel that enough has been done by the NHRA and Phumelela to deal with this matter as opposed to ‘hoping it goes away’”

He adds that he is sure there is a fine for wearing club colours black.

“Frankly I don’t care how much it is. You have the choice to start doing the right thing. Until further notice our horses run in black.”

The NHRA ‘s Racing Control Executive Arnold Hyde was interviewed on the Clocking The Gallop Show.

Watch the interview here

Phumelela published the media release shown below on the day of the protest:

The race meeting at Fairview on Friday is set to go ahead.

Most grooms at the training centre at the racecourse had returned to work by midday today following a protest this morning that turned violent.

The protest was initiated by grooms formerly employed by leading Port Elizabeth trainer Yvette Bremner and other grooms at the centre later joined the protest.

Several horses in Bremner’s care were let out of their stables and chased from the complex before the Public Order Police managed to remove the protesters from the training centre and restore order.

Unfortunately, one of Bremner’s charges, Mark The Doorman, died after falling and breaking his neck as a result of the grooms’ actions.

All other horses let loose were later caught and returned to their stables. Several suffered varying injuries, but a veterinary surgeon said that initial examinations indicated all are likely to recover.

Phumelela is liaising with the Department of Labour in a bid to resolve the dispute between Bremner and her former employees, which traces back to an incident several months ago when a Bremner charge was stabbed by a groom.

Phumelela has enlisted additional private security personnel to assist in protecting people and horses in the complex overnight and they will be on duty on raceday. There will also be a strong police presence from early on raceday morning.

Phumelela continues to monitor the situation and will issue an update when appropriate. It intends to do everything possible to ensure that all those responsible for the unrest are prosecuted.

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12 comments on “Fairview – Passive Protest By UK-Based Owner

  1. AB de Villiers says:

    Hope all involved get kicked out of racing forever

  2. Leonard Andrews says:

    All my sympathy goes to Yvette and racing
    community.What a sad week.

  3. Celeste Whitmore says:

    Why were the grooms from the other trainers stables who partook in this atrocity allowed to return to work?! It would appear as if all trainers are intimidated and totally controlled by the grooms! Disgraceful!!

  4. Antoinette says:

    Please release all the names of grooms involved – help us who own horses and other domesticated animals protect our animals against these people, by preventing them from ever working with animals.als again .

    I own 2 OTTB’s and my family has been involved in racing in various ways. This has saddens me beyond words. I cannot explain the pain I feel for all involved and the fear I now feel for my own horses safety.

    1. Editor says:

      Antoinette Meiring

  5. V. Rosen Durban says:

    This is a very sad day for S A racing. Grooms make their living with horses. They are now losing jobs and trainers

  6. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Has there been a lack of Empathy by SA authorities ? YES

    Quiet diplomacy, just like the Govt, hoping the problem will go away ? Afr has such beautiful words that come to mind. Gatvol en slapgat.

    Sad to listen to the Hedley interview with Nico, however atleast it is out there …

    Anyways, the sun will rise tomorrow, but the bitter taste this has left will be around for a while

    Good Night.

  7. Rod Mattheyse says:

    It appears the trainers in Natal never got the message

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Rod
      We believe that there were discussions with the NHRA.
      There is an IRC runner at Hollywoodbets Greyville today.

  8. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Im confused, there was a meeting with the NHRA. Was it about the trainers not getting the IRC memo, or was the memo form a member of IRC – all very confusing.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Rod
      We believe the NHA and IRC had a discussion.
      Rather than flagrantly disregard rules, it was agreed that a compromise would be reached by today.
      We are unaware of what will happen. It will be clearer after their runner today.

  9. Steve Reid says:

    I have no insight into whether a meeting was held between the IRC and the NHA and whether anything is/will be settled.

    What I am prepared to put my life savings on however is that the NHA would never allow a horses to race in other colours ( unless its a Jockeys international or some mundane Chinese spectator participation malarkey ). I can guarantee the take it or leave it principal will apply and the IRC will be forced to scratch or run in their own colours.

    Reminds me of apartheid strategy to be honest.

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