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Maujean Cleared – But Did NHRA Muddy Waters?

Selective dissemination of information?

A unanimous ruling by an NHRA inquiry board to find jockey Chase Maujean guilty with a fine imposed of R60 000 for what the racing regulator deemed an unsatisfactory ride when he got Puerto Manzano up to dead-heat with stablemate, Thumbs Up, at Turffontein on 26 September 2020, was quietly set aside by an Inquiry Review Board early last month.

The Maujean incident led indirectly to leading South African owner and breeder Laurence Wernars, whose famous silks were carried in the historic dead-heat in the race under review, resigning his directorship on the NHRA board, and also deciding to reduce his substantial racehorse holdings.

The turnover of the original guilty finding aside, there are several interesting facets of the operational processes of our racing regulator that have been highlighted by the events at play in the Maujean matter.

Chase Maujean – vindicated (Pic – Pauline Herman)

These include the fact that the NHRA issued a press release regarding the original hearing outcome within 24 hours of the matter being heard on 21 October 2020,

The Sporting Post has been informed that the subsequent setting aside of the matter by the NHRA Review Board was known to the parties some three weeks ago.

Yet the same vigour and enthusiasm, which effectively placed Maujean in the spotlight, was clearly not evident in the subsequent setting aside verdict.

The setting aside notice was published in the NHRA calendar on Friday. There is more reference in the notice to the original charges – and just one line dedicated to the setting aside. So why none of the same hoopla, efficiency and enthusiasm?

Despite a happy ending, the Maujean matter has left a bitter taste for the parties involved.

The Sporting Post has learnt that shortly after being found guilty in October, Maujean gave written notice of an appeal and paid his appeal fee.

Apparently, 48 hours later the NHRA’s Racing Control Executive Arnold Hyde, who has the sole discretion to allow the condonation for appeal to be heard, refused and stated that the appeal fee was received after business hours.

Despite numerous requests in writing, the NHRA apparently refused to set out their hours of business as they apply to the receipt of eft payments.

Maujean, who was unrepresented at the original inquiry, obtained legal representation thereafter.

Chase in the famous Wernars silks (Pic – Pauline Herman)

According to his legal counsel, it appears that the position of the NHRA is that they refuse to allow the appeal and the matter must rather go to the review committee.

This committee comprises experienced senior advocates and senior attorneys, all of whom have extensive experience in the law and in the racing industry.

In the original inquiry, Maujean was charged with not riding Puerto Manzano in a professional manner, when he did not  use the whip on the horse in question.

In an intimidatory and overwhelming environment at the inquiry, the racing regulator has the benefit of legal representation and experience, while the jockey has none .

Despite multiple exchanges of correspondence from Maujean’s counsel, the NHRA took the stance that in terms of rule 85.6 and 85.7, that the time for payments of the appeal fee was in fact exceeded and the matter would proceed to the review committee.

The core of the original finding was based on an opinion of a stipendiary steward as to whether Maujean rode the horse in a competent and professional matter.

And, notwithstanding the evidence of the trainer regarding the riding instructions, as well as the owner, who was present, Maujean was found guilty and received a R60 000 fine – half of which was suspended .

The inquiry review board, whose reasons, despite numerous written requests, have not been provided, subsequently set aside both the guilty finding and penalty after considering the video and evidence.

The appeal fee was refunded to Maujean.

Despite written requests to do so, the NHRA have not applied the same enthusiasm to publicising the review committee’s findings, as they did when the guilty finding and penalty was disseminated in the media.

“It seems clear that the original decision was based upon the opinion of an ex-jockey and a trainer, and opinions can clearly differ regarding the riding instructions and the split decisions a jockey needs to make in the heat of a race. It is now patently clear that Chase Maujean was cleared of all the charges and the least one would expect,  especially where we are dealing with the racing public and perceptions, is that if a finding is overturned that the NHRA would disseminate the end result and finding, with reasons provided in the same format as the original press release. Despite numerous requests the NHRA have declined to publish same,” said Advocate Mannie Witz.

Please click here to see the notice in the NHRA Calendar, gazetted on 8 January 2021- base of page 103 – you be the judge

Owner Laurence Wernars said that he was pleased that justice had been done.

“The accessibility of the ordinary recourse processes to ensure a genuine fair hearing are once again shown to be restricted to budgets and the opportunity of access to legal counsel. I am glad that we took up the cudgels of principle for the team and threw our weight behind Chase’s quest to clear his name.”

Owner Laurence Wernars seen in a file pic with Mat de Kock (Pic – JC Photos)

Wernars went on to say that he believed that the Constitution enshrined a protection of personal reputation.

“I hope that the NHRA will revisit the manner in which they access the media to trump a guilty finding, but then show none of the same vigour when their own internal processes turn the decision around. The defendant, related parties and racing stakeholders are entitled to be informed in what should be a world of no vested interests, neutrality and of transparency,” he added.

A highly successful businessman, and one of our biggest owners, Wernars said that the end decision had gone some way to restoring his personal confidence in the justice processes, and that he would be willing to continue supporting the racing and breeding industry.

“In these testing times, the industry must demand integrity and answers from the racing regulator. We don’t need sideshows to hamper the excellent efforts of so many passionate and dedicated people to try and right the ship and get SA racing on an even keel again,” he concluded.

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25 comments on “Maujean Cleared – But Did NHRA Muddy Waters?

  1. Len Bloch says:

    Every week,some “edited” or other hits the fan with regards horse racing in South Africa.
    Little wonder then that as a “small”owner,but been in the game for many years,I have disinvested from the game I love,ownership and colours.

  2. James Goodman says:

    The same treatment i recieved from the NHRA on a number of occasions, notably 1993 when i won an appeal in the High court. They took a full page advert when found guilty at board level but nothing when cleared in the Courts.That was the start of my long running battle with the NHRA. Culminating in the Caffiene case where they again lost in the high court. Interestingly they did not prosecute any other caffiene positives. There were a multitude of them!! It shows what type of people are in power at our regulatory authority.

  3. Disgraceful behaviour by the NHRA.

  4. JC LEE CHING says:

    It is a privilege to have Sporting Post to air both sides of these numerous in fights within the racing industry, I thank you. Very happy that Chase Majuen has been cleared and rightly so. The whole affair was absurd to start off with made worse by the inane comments of lunatic fringe. Just hope the powers that be learn from this sorry mess.

  5. Disgraceful organisation.

  6. Avril Lerena says:

    It is a travesty what the NHA do to tarnish the reputation of licensed jockeys, trainers, owners etc. They are not there to regulate the sport but rather issue vindictive fines and suspensions that are unwarranted in the first place. It is the only assumption that one can reach in view of the fact they waste more than 2 million rand every year on legal fees and have little success to show for it..

  7. braam van huyssteen says:

    The original charges and findings were an absolute disgrace which once again shows the inability of
    some of the NHRA pole bearers. The PE debacle is another great example resulting in Yvette Bremner giving it up, myself downsizing from shares in 200 to 30 horses and Hedley Mcgrath and other stable owners calling it a day. Maybe it’s time for those to make way for people who actually own horses and have a history of success in business and or organizational leadership. Time for the tail to stop wagging the dog.

  8. Janet Warren says:

    NHRA is a micky mouse outfit. Clueless and arrogant. They will leave a legacy in tatters. They have huge inflated egos.

  9. Steve Reid says:

    There are so many other examples of this yellow organisation only publishing what they deem fit, The NHA are a bunch of bullies playing on their own playground who cannot take their medicine when it gets given to them. Dorrie Sham is a perfect example after the NHA tainted her good name and not a whisper about her successful appeal. How many other appeals get overturned and not a word is said? How many cock-ups by NHA officials result in press releases? Perhaps Vee could let us know how collecting Larry’s fine is going, I hear that got overturned too. Amazing.

    There is a delicious irony in a former board member crying about a lack of integrity when he did nothing to stem the tide whilst he had the opportunity. Shame.

  10. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Despicable, Poisonous (dis)Organisation ….

  11. Mark Sham says:

    Steve, Braam and others, you so right. I was fined R30k for walking out of the AGM and saying “S..t” in the boardroom. This after Vee dangling Dorrie’s inquiry in front of all and saying she had pleaded guilty. She was found guilty after pleading not guilty more than 5 times. Inquiry review board overturned finding and penalty . Surely by now he has read the inquiry and seen that. He has never apologised to Dorrie. In the AGM Mrs Rowatt asked Dorrie what we wanted. Dorrie replied “for the overturning to be published in weekly notice” . To date still no publication.

    NHA have had my appeal money of R8450 for my fine for nearly a year now and nothing happening.

  12. Anand Chetty says:

    I have no respect whatsoever for the NHRA
    Chase is a humble, hardworking jockey.
    I’m glad the connections stood firmly behind him

  13. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Does no one get it ? The NHRA has been captured to allow the continuation of SA racing as we know it. They protect the narrow agendas for their own gain. This has nothing to do with the integrity of SA racing. The NHRA are part of the problem and have been for years but everyone knows this ? From groom to trainer form owner to breeder. The current crowd who are in positions of power wield it like a big stick, I presume to hide other goings on ?. The original headline was done to do maximum damage to the accused and all involved to the point of getting rid of another owner…..no one seeing the pattern here ? One of the major problems with SA racing is the people in charge of its health and yet nothing has changed ? what has changed in the last year for the punter ? or the owner ( piece meal rise in stakes from an already low number ). We kept being told Kenilworth looked beautiful on Saturday ( we know this ) so who was all that done for ? Those Ivory towers are the problem but I think everyone knows….They are unprofessional, unethical and almost definitely side tracked with other agendas which have nothing to do with the growth of SA racing. SA Racing survives in spite of the NHRA not because of it. It is obvious there was an agenda behind this whole process and it almost sounds personal ? ( in the Goodman cases over the years it definitely was, plus a few more on this forum )…..The NHRA are the enemy as we see with this whole process and many others. The NHRA must explain the media protocol and why it is used as a weapon ? why do they go out the way to hurt individuals on a personal level ? its been happening for years… do an audit on all of them, including the ones who have left….that includes the RA….

  14. Hamisj Stewart says:

    Chase was the hardest working jockey for years at Clairwood 7 days aweek.The only one on a sinday riding work week in week out only to get jocked off for someone who puts his hands down when he cannot win week in week out.Thanks to joburg owners and trainers for recognizing his work ethic and treating him and his family fairly.A more honorable man you will never find in the jockey room anywhere

  15. John De Roock says:

    Seems as if the only people hapoy with the NHRA are the lawyers working for them.

  16. Following on from Mrs. Janet Warren’s comment and others…

    Vee Moodley has shown, on more that a few occasions/incidents, symptom’s of what I feel are narcissistic tendencies.

    Exudes Self-Importance

    Acts Entitled

    Uses Generalizations

    Needs Adoration

    Lacks Empathy

    Using just one example, Mr. Moodley advertised 4 of these 5 attributes @ the Merit Rating meeting I attended at Kenilworth racecourse.

    He has previously shown these symptom’s on panel discussions and statements made when in the employ of Phumelela.

    Is this the ‘Donald Trump type’ trend that this most damaged industry needs ?

    Mickey Mouse indeed, Mrs. Warren and fellow SP bloggers

  17. Dudley de Jongh says:

    What has Andrew Fortune has to say about Chase been cleared.

  18. Santoro says:

    Ethics and trust should be across the board, i am of the opinion that there should be a Special Investigative Unit, to review similar matters, submit a report before any decision is made, objectivity should be applied. Punters are getting the short end. For racing to truly survive we need to look into racing with the vision of ethics and trust.
    I enjoy overseas racing more than local, because I can see the level and standard in which racing is conducted.
    I come from an Investigative background and it is clear that some of the races are clearly compromised for the benefit of the few.
    I love this ‘game’s and don’t want the degradation.

  19. Hamih Stewart says:

    Amen to that

  20. Hamisj Stewart says:

    Overseas racing shows us up for the shambles we are.The only place where you take your motor car to the vet for repairs

  21. Hamih Stewart says:

    Shame poor Vee.He was the voice for those who have left him behind.How else does he keep getting paid to do something he is not equipped to do.Narcism instill fear and he thinks it will justify the lack of ability

  22. leseding says:

    Where is the :Honorable” Vee Moodley nowadays ??

  23. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    leseding … and Patrick Davis ?

    Did he do a David Blaine or was his ‘presence’ of a virtual nature, like when you visit the wildlife parks from your couch ?

  24. Donald Bradshaw says:

    Exactly correct Dudley , we await Mr. Andrew Fortunes comments after he gave initial support to this crazy rudderless debacle at the N.H.R.A. ?

    A jockey wins a race with a hands and heels ride on a first timer and gets sanctioned , one would have thought that Mr. Fortune being a former top jockey would be impressed by the ride ?

  25. Leon Lotz says:

    No more than 12 hits with the crop.
    Now, sorry if you do not use it you are in even bigger trouble.So when you use all 12 before the 200 that is it,but maybe you need another one to win,in my oppinion this is possible.The liberal world carrying maltese poodels around,not knowing anything about animals are to blame for this.There is no difference between not using a crop or only using it12 times, the horse does not feel it in any case.
    We are in racing to enjoy it ,but o boy do they make it difficult.The joy of racing are being taken away for many people.Just a few years back there use to be another fool to replace a fool when he or she decided racing has no joy and left.Now it is a differant story but they do not see the light.Really sad ,and the bullying continues

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