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Was Billy Robbed?

Please tell us what you think!

It raised its ugly head in Saturday’s WSB Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas. Maybe they got that one right.

But the perceived inconsistency of our Stipendiary Stewards has been a hot topic over the past few months. Maybe it always has been.

What has happened to the Virtual Boardroom introduced by the National Horseracing Authority at the beginning of the 2019/20 season?

Billy Jacobson drives Socrates down the inside as Kyle Strydom and Mount Pleasant arrive late (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

When asked for an indication some time ago of use of the facility acquired at great cost, the Sporting Post was given no answers and the ‘exciting advance in Racing Control technology, which is vital to maintaining the highest levels of integrity in the sport of horseracing in Southern Africa’ really does appear to be a white elephant.

The facility apparently enables Officials based at the Head Office to have real-time and review access to the live video patrol footage of any racemeeting countrywide, and to actively participate as members of a Stipendiary Board at the race meeting.

On Monday at Hollywoodbets Greyville, the Stipes were quick on the hooter following Socrates beating Mount Pleasant a short head in the eighth race.

The Stipes – not young Kyle Strydom on the second horse – objected against the winner on the grounds of interference in the closing stages.

Watch the final stages and the head-on, here:

There is no doubt that Socrates came right across from the inside rail looking for company.

Billy didn’t change crop hand – but neither rider stopped riding and it was too late for both to change crop hands, when they met.

The two horses didn’t touch – just over a stride before the line – and the Stipes have apparently acknowledged this.

The Sporting Post has not had site of the official Stipes report yet, but in a short chat with a clearly disappointed jockey Billy Jacobson, the frustration of the inconsistency for a professional sportsman who gets up early most days and doesn’t earn a movie star’s salary, is evident.

“I am obviously disappointed. And I respect that the Stipes have a job to do.This is sport. We win some. We lose some. I acknowledge – and it’s clear for the world to see – that Socrates drifted out. But we never touched, Kyle (Strydom) never took evasive action or stopped riding. I could not believe that the decision went against us. But forget about Socrates’ Owners, Groom, Trainer and the team behind him. Think about the public and all the Owners who keep the game going. I really don’t feel that, what in my opinion are inconsistent decisions like this, are good for racing overall,” said the senior rider.

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43 comments on “Was Billy Robbed?

  1. Editor says:

    Testing 1 2 3

  2. Gerod says:

    Daylight robbery

    1. Editor says:

      Thanks Gerod Nassif

  3. Neill de Bruyn says:

    Mr Ed just put a note on your site if no surname you cant post. Update the account user name with your surname other wise theres a message ‘blog token not found’

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Neill
      Thanks for that.
      Our new site migration has been postponed to Sunday 12 December – we have had a few tech issues.
      The idea is that name and surname is required ito our policy
      Cheers and thanks for the note

  4. Marlon sing says:

    Exactly I agree with you Mr Editor,the inconsistent behavior by our officials in South African racing is very bad for this sport,my exact grievance about Saturdays guineas,the exact same thing happen today…..Jay August I would like to hear what your opinion is about what happen at greyville today.

  5. Derek says:


    1. Editor says:

      Tks Derek Fredricks

  6. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    No good deed goes unpunished – nowhere in the rule book does it say you can’t change your whiphand – poor poor ride – Billy Jacobson should beg James Maree for a spot on his course and focus on how to change the stick!

    I wonder what Mr Puller thinks on the smack Ishnana got two strides after the post!

  7. Calvin Oosthuizen says:

    I don’t think it was an unfair call. Touching or not, the drifting of one horse caused the other to drift and looking at the video had he not drifted and stayed his course he probarbly would have had his nose down on the line and won the race. Yes both jockeys never stopped riding or changed hands but if you run a rave sideways and make your opposition do the same you cause them to run worse than they would straight and looking at what mount pleasant had in hand he was traveling better than SOCs and I think the right decision was made.

    Along with Billy saying what about the punters that keep the game alive, I agree but there were punters on the 7 aswell so it goes both ways

  8. David Safi says:

    Some say read and laugh,, I can only read and weep

  9. Kenny Masilela says:

    Billy dismally failed to keep Socrates straight but coming close to Mount Pleasant had no effect on Mount Pleasant’s momentum. Those stipes got too excited and they need to go on a holiday. Those of us on Socrates we were robed!

  10. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey… Hi Mr Ed I trust you are well my friend… Mr Ed would you have any idea if the stipes called in Kyle Strydom for his ride on the Duncan Howells horse Park And Fly in the 6th ? Was it by design that appy raced 3 wide for no reason when clearly one could see that a bus could have slotted in and only race 1 off the fence… am I talking from my pocket absolutely,, I hate doing my money in cold blood surely had it been ridden properly it must run still run a dirty 4th,,big difference for quartet players….

    1. Editor says:

      Frankie, we will check the Stipes Report – it comes in early morning ish

      Here is the race – your horse is in green and blue silks


  11. hilton witz says:

    Mr editor were their 4 QUALIFIED stipes doing duty so that 1 could object and 3 could decide the outcome either 3 0 or 2 1 ?Outcome of objections runs into millions of rands in gambling money and also not forgetting owners trainers jockeys and grooms pockets and the stud book….

    1. Editor says:

      We will check that on the report Hilton.
      Recall you have raised this important aspect previously

    2. Editor says:

      Hi Hilton
      These were the duty Stipes – including a Virtual Boardroom Stipe per the official report:
      The Stipendiary Stewards on duty :
      Mr D Moodley (Chief Stipendiary Steward)
      Mr D M Anderson (Deputy Chief Stipendiary Steward)
      Mr S Connaway
      Mr M J Lips
      Mr R Sobotker (Virtual Boardroom)

  12. Pieta says:

    Mr Ed, I also find it confusing that the clerk of scales can report on a horse being scratched at the start?….was he present at the start? Or does he just act on the info he gets over the radio?…..was there no starter or does he have no say?….who calls the shots and takes the responsibility?

    1. Editor says:

      Thats just the process, somehow Pieta
      Which horse are you referring to, particularly?

  13. Jay August says:

    Marlon, I’m not in front of a computer until Wednesday. I watched the race briefly today on my phone (side on only), was surprised to hear it resulted in a reversal, but I’ve not watched it properly to have a view on the reversal at the moment.

  14. Pieta says:

    No horse in particular Mr Ed….but in the past if a horse was scratched at the start it was the starters decision….and he reported so in the stripes report because he was physically there and took responsibility…..now someone in the weighing room gets told to make a statement and he was not even there?

    1. Editor says:

      Hear what you are saying – he is the recorder of the incident technically – not the deciding official

    2. Editor says:

      Hi Pieta
      We spoke to a senior Stipe today.
      He explained that the Clerk Of Scales is the official used as the point of dissemination.
      He said that whena horse is withdrawn at the start, the starter/ vet advises accordingly and the Clerk Of Scales is the guy who removes that jockey / horse from the computer as scratched which removes the need to weigh-in. Otherwise the all-clear will be blocked by the system.

  15. glen hatt says:

    I think they have made the wrong decision here. If they did touch it was 2 strides short of the post which makes no difference and does not affect the 2nd horses stride.
    To be fair , I did watch the replay and head on on my phone but still feel the movement by Socrates did not affect the 2nd placed horses stride at all

    1. Editor says:

      Thanks for the input, Glen

  16. Steve Reid says:

    This drum has been beating for far too long now and well done on highlighting the virtual boardroom Mr. Ed.

    A decade ago I listed this as a discussion item at a NHA AGM. Colin Hall wanted it off the agenda but I insisted. When the topic was debated I was asked to supply Hall with examples of inconsistencies. I gave him 10 examples that showed conclusively that stipes were coming to different decisions in different jurisdictions when similar transgressions occurred.. Hyde was asked to study the 10 examples and a meeting between Hall, Hyde and myself was promised. Despite a few reminders to Hall, the meeting never took place for obvious reasons. The documentation needed to substantiate my claims is available.

    4 RACING can do what they want in regards to improving racing in this country. With a regulating body unable to police racing effectively, they have no chance of building the sport.

  17. Mr Ed…….does Mr Strydom wake up late and earn millions? Not sure what’s the relevance with this point you make but here’s a news flash – when a horse is demoted another horse that has a hardworking jockey and deserving owner and trainer wins. Mr Jacobson robbed the backers, owner, trainers etc of the win on Socrates because he failed to keep his horse straight and should be apologetic but he blames the Stipes. His horse covers more ground by shifting out and costs himself, he does not have the right to carry another horse off a straight course and the Stipes deemed that Mount Pleasant would have won but for this intimidation suffered. You may not agree with their opinion but that does not make the outcome inconsistent, it just means you disagree. Its highly probable that the connections of Mount Pleasant agree upheld decision. The connections of Desert Miracle did not exercise their right to object for the intimidation they suffered, perhaps they accepted that they would not have won, I tend to agree with them however that’s just my opinion.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Lionel
      Depends which Mr Strydom you are talking about 🙂
      Seriously though, the point about getting up early and earnings, was an attempt to illustrate that beyond the top handful of glamour jocks, it’s a tough job. And jockeys – all jockeys in the end – don’t need men in suits who have never ridden a horse ever, to be inconsistent in their decision making. That’s why we asked about the Virtual Boardroom – as this could be key to creating a more consistent base of decisions.
      But it is gathering dust somewhere.
      Your opinion is received and respected.

  18. Mayen Naidoo says:

    Outsource the stipes to VAR

  19. Gary Grant says:

    Billy unfortunately you not classified as a top rider and the stable is not classified as a top stable had it been you would have kept the race . Don’t believe me please go back to Tuesday last week turffontein , Grant van niekerk in the the 4th and go to Saturday kenilworth Grant van niekerk again. Big jock big stable , different rules for different fools. Only place you might find more inconsistencies is in the weather man.

  20. George McDonald says:

    Mr.Ed, if a young man like Pieta is confused with these scratching reports imagine what it does to us oldies.
    Hollywoodbets Greyville Monday 6th December.
    Tabgold site.
    Card scratching.
    Race 4 number 4 Winter Air –Comment/(reason) Injured in Starting Stalls.
    On reading that you may think what?
    Race 9 number 7 Edgartown –Card scratching –Comment–Clerk of Scales.
    So why was Edgartown scratched before the race meeting by the Clerk of Scales?
    If you read duties of Clerk of Scales -weigh in and out jockeys and see that correct equipment is carried and worn.
    Has got other duties ?

  21. Geoff Logan says:

    Billy was robbed in my opinion. I think because it was so close it swayed the stipes to rule in favour of Strydom. However, although Socrates did shift onto Mount Pleasant, I don’t think it cost Mount Pleasant the race.I repeat only my opinion. If the stipes had let the result stand there would have moans and groans from the other camp.

  22. George McDonald says:

    Lionel Muthray, do you know that an owner of a horse that ran second and was promoted to first didn’t thing it was fair. He felt terrible about that decision.
    What Billy J said was — I really don’t feel that, what in my opinion are inconsistent decisions like this are good for racing overall.
    Lionel he blames the Stipes for being inconsistent.
    And it seems like in some way you agree with him.
    You say–The connections of Desert Miracle did not exercise their right to object for the intimidation they suffered …
    So you agree there was intimidation but the Stipes did not object in Desert Miracle’s case.
    And in your opinion there was intimidation in Mount Pleasant’s case and the Stipes did the right thing by objecting and upholding the objection
    Do you not see the inconsistent decisions Billy J talks of?

  23. Ed…….why would the use of the virtual Boardroom solve the ”so called’ consistency issue? There is disagreement on the Mount Pleasant race on this thread. Who would be the arbiter of what is consistent and how would the determine this? So you who have also never ridden in a race have a different opinion. Mr K Strydom, who has ridden, presumably agrees with this outcome, does this prove anything? No two races are exactly the same so how would you police consistency?

  24. Jay August says:

    Mr Ed. I could paraphrase your comment to Lionel, and state the following:

    And punters – all punters in the end – don’t need jockeys in silks who have never placed a bet ever, to be inconsistent in their decision making when riding competitively in a race.

    One issue which strikes me as symptomatic of the problem in SA racing is the belief in some quarters that certain sections of the racing community are untouchable, and worse, above criticism.

    The Stipes have a lot to answer for but then so do jockeys both as a group and individually. The constant inability to keep mounts reasonably straight by certain jockeys is simply beyond excuse.

    That the Stipes cannot police this effectively is an issue which exacerbates and inflames the underlying problem, but can never exonerate those that infringe the rules regularly.

    Lastly, the notion that one cannot make a reasonable appraisal of a ride by virtue of never having ridden in a race is a poor argument aimed at avoiding a logical and rational debate.

  25. Donald Bradshaw says:

    An objection is a very serious matter involving the destiny of many thousands of rands and as such , with the patrol films available today , each upheld objection must be talked through on Tellytrack by the NHRA who make these vital decisions in terms of the rules so that the patrons of the horse racing industry can understand how and why each upheld decision is arrived at ?

    The stipes must advise who is objecting and the reasons for an objection before the talk through commences on the result of the objection. This can all be done in 5 minutes of Tellytrack time at the most !

    This business of just hearing ” objection , 2nd against 1st , upheld ” and then have to wait for a written stipes report is just NOT good enough especially in view of the FACT that this has been done in the past , albeit not in the recent past.

    The matter of the virtual boardroom has to date always met with a vague response from the NHRA who do not seem to know themselves if one exists or not ?

  26. Rod Mattheyse says:

    The stipes’ report looks like the foreword to a Novel not even Dick Francis could imagine.

    All 5 of them including Ricardo Sabotker in the Virtual Boardroom consider the interference significant enough to change the result – yet the one handed jock does not even get a warning.

    The new winner never had a dope test either

  27. ALAN BANKS says:

    The question is did Mr Jacobson do anything to stop his horse from hanging from the 400m mark. The answer is NO. Did the 2nd placed horse lose any ground by being carried out even if it is a half a metre. The answer is yes. What was the winning margin a short head, I believe. The (3 blind mice) stipes call is correct. Why all the moaning guys

  28. Andre Hauptfleisch says:

    The mind boggles at the inconsistency of our stipes over all the years. We sit with all this fantastic new technology and yet the decision making is getting worse. Centralize the decision making! Get someone who can actually read a race to make the correct/consistent decisions, not someone who struggles to read a nursery rhyme to himself at bed time. All everyone wants is consistency, right or wrong at least we know where we stand and what is expected of all parties. Grow a pair! The rules have too many “grey areas,” why? Make a stand and clear this up so most “grey areas” are removed from the rule books. The game is hard enough without having to deal with this all the time.

  29. Dev Govender says:

    As with VAR in football, this is one of those subjects that fans of the sport will never be able to reach consensus on.

    I always find it odd when the jockey/connections of a beaten horse decide NOT to object, but the Stipes step in anyway. I also find it interesting that – as far as I can tell – once the Stipes lodge an objection it is pretty much guaranteed to be upheld. (I may be wrong, but I don’t recall a situation in my experience when the Stipes lodged an objection and it was overruled).

    If Kyle, who had the best view of events, felt that he had ultimately not been impeded from winning, surely that must carry a huge amount of weight in the decision-making process.

    For the record, I’m not implying anything untoward or questionable on the part of the Stipes. But I’m just trying to follow the logic as to why they would intervene if the jockey of the beaten horse was clear that the interference had not cost him the race.

  30. Editor says:

    Here is the Stipes Report for the record:


    Starter : M Shaw Loading Time : 1:15sec No. of Runners : 11

    Carded Time: 16:05:00
    Rescheduled Time: –
    Off Time: 16:06:41
    Provisional Result: 16:09:24
    All Clear: 16:28:42

    a) Fair start.

    a) In the concluding stages, MOUNT PLEASANT (AUS) (*K Strydom) was carried out several horse widths by SOCRATES (B Jacobson) which shifted out away from the crop from the 150m. A member of the Stipendiary Board called a race review into this incident which was followed by an objection being lodged by him on the grounds of interference in the concluding stages. After hearing the evidence in this matter, which included that of the member of the Stipendiary Board, Jockey B Jacobson and Apprentice K Strydom, the Objection Board upheld the objection. In arriving at this decision, the Objection Board took into consideration that MOUNT PLEASANT (AUS) (*K Strydom) was running on from behind SOCRATES (B Jacobson), the carry onto MOUNT PLEASANT (AUS) (*K Strydom) which resulted in this gelding being shifted off its running line by a significant distance and in particular that, in the concluding stages, after Apprentice K Strydom changed his hold and drew his crop in the left hand, his mount which was a length behind SOCRATES (B Jacobson) had appeared to, when viewing the side angle, gather sufficient momentum to win the race however, at the point when MOUNT PLEASANT (AUS) (*K Strydom) would have definitively taken the lead, this gelding’s momentum was broken and it appeared to hesitate due to being carried out. Thereafter, despite the proximity of the incident to the finish, MOUNT PLEASANT (AUS) (*K Strydom) again re-gathered its momentum and ran SOCRATES (B Jacobson) down to 0.10 lengths at the finish. Consequently, the Board was satisfied that but for the above incident, MOUNT PLEASANT (AUS) (*K Strydom) would have finished ahead of SOCRATES (B Jacobson), therefore it upheld the objection and amended the Judge’s result from 5x7x2x11x13 to 7x5x2x11x13.
    b) In view of the performance of SOLID GOLD (T Godden) (2.85 lengths, 6/1 in the betting) the Veterinary Surgeon was requested to examine. Trainer M Roberts will be requested to report back to the Stipendiary Board on the condition of this gelding on return to stables.
    c) SOCRATES (B Jacobson), placed second, was selected for the taking of specimens for analysis. Assistant Trainer C Austin acting for Trainer S W Humby advised (SC).
    a) Nil.

    a) Nil.

    a) SOLID GOLD : Nothing obvious detected.

    a) RIVERSTOWN : Transport complications (Trainer – 04.12.21/15h58).
    b) PARKTOWN : Not eating up (Trainer – 04.12.21/9h14). Rule 53.5 applies.

    No. Horse Jockey Trainer Distance Betting
    1st 7 MOUNT PLEASANT (AUS) *K Strydom D C Howells —- 5/1
    2nd 5 SOCRATES B Jacobson S W Humby 0.10 0.10 6/1
    3rd 2 ISHNANA A Mgudlwa G B Puller 0.90 1.00 7/1
    4th 11 SEA MASTER D De Gouveia R A Hill 0.60 1.60 20/1
    5th 13 FULL BLAST S Moodley M D Miller 0.15 1.75 10/1
    Time of Race : 70.58s
    Tote Favourite:
    Distance : 2.85 Betting : 6/1

  31. Jay August says:

    Dev, page 83. https://www.nhra.co.za/media/attachments/2021/11/23/rules-october-2021.pdf

    “But I’m just trying to follow the logic as to why they would intervene if the jockey of the beaten horse was clear that the interference had not cost him the race.”

    I would suspect that were you adamant in your belief that an objection should have been raised in a race, but that the jockey (or connections) decided against such objection, and the Stipes were precluded from objecting, that as a punter you would feel mightily aggrieved. How would such a scenario serve the best interests of the punter?

    Consider a situation where the two horses involved in the potential objection are stable companions with common ownership, and in which the losing jockey who should object is dissuaded from doing so by the common connection/s. How would that serve the common good if the Stipes were unable to lodge an objection that rightly should be made in the interests of punters?

  32. Jay August says:

    What’s in a headline. Everything if the writer’s intent is to create a specific narrative. The headline here could just as well have read – “Were some punters robbed by Billy’s indiscretion?”

    One problem the lay person has in watching the video of this race is no clear context of where the finishing post is. Greyville video is a guessing game when it comes to figuring out exactly at what point the horses crossed the finishing line. Then also one cannot overlay the side on view with the head on view, something I believe the Stipes can. Nothing, except lack of attention to detail, precludes the Stipes from including in their report the video cuts of the incident for further or proper clarification.

    Nonetheless Marlon, the margin of win for the demoted winner and the intimidation caused by the drift of that horse, the proximity of the finishing line to that intimidation/interference, leads one to reasonably believe that there is a real possibility the second horse could have won but for the interference. I am therefore not surprised the Stipes voted in its favour. Why Jacobson escaped any admonishment for the drift is beyond me. Is being demoted considered the punishment, and if so, why then not state that in the report?

    Why is this different from the Cape Fillies Guineas? There are several factors to consider. Firstly, here the aggrieved horse is running on from behind the demoted winner. The interference or intimidation takes place shortly before the finishing line and the second horse loses by a rapidly diminishing head. In the CFG the winner tacks across the field from inside to outside and intimidates the second horse about 150m from the post, makes no contact or further harassment towards the line, and the winning margin is 0.20 lengths with no significant closing down by the second horse of the winner in the last 100m. There is reasonable uncertainty that without the intimidation the second horse would have won. Given the significant drift of the winner should the Stipes have called a race review in the CFG just to be sure? Probably as that would have highlighted the issue beyond speculation by the punter.

    Jacobson lost this race through his own action or inaction. He made no effort to straighten his mount once it started to drift significantly across the track. Perhaps he should get up much earlier in the morning to review the video several times each day before work. Throwing the dice on winning a race is a risk Jacobson took and his inability to assess the risk of drifting across the track while other runners are closing from behind has nothing to do with an inconsistency by the Stipes.

    The inconsistency I note in this race and the CFG is the treatment by the Stipes of jockeys who cannot keep their mounts reasonably straight, and who cause intimidation, interference, and shepherding. On 16 November 2021, GVN was punished by the Stipes in CT for a ride, the report reading as follows: “The National Horseracing Authority confirms that at an Inquiry finalised in the Stipendiary Stewards Boardroom at Kenilworth Racecourse on 1 December 2021, Jockey G van Niekerk was charged with a contravention of Rule 62.2.5. The particulars being that as the rider of EVERGLADES he failed to ensure that he did not cause interference when he shifted in and crossed GLOBAL GODDESS (A Domeyer) at the 400m in Race 4 at Kenilworth Racecourse on 16 November 2021. Jockey G van Niekerk pleaded guilty to the charge and was found guilty as charged. The Inquiry Board, after considering the race recording, his riding record and all mitigating factors, imposed a penalty of a suspension from riding in races for a period of seven (7) days. Jockey G van Niekerk waived his Right of Appeal, and he is suspended from riding in races from 05/12/2021 to 11/12/2021, both days inclusive.”

    Then at the Summer Cup meeting on 30 November the Stipes reported that: “Jockey G van Niekerk the rider of SOUND OF WARNING, appeared before the Board, was shown the patrol films of his riding over the final 150m of this race, and was advised that the Stewards determined his riding to be below the standard of a senior rider. The Stewards advised him that his horse had shifted significant ground outwards away from his right-hand crop and that he had failed to take the necessary measures to straighten his horse. He was told that the only reason the Stewards did not prefer a charge against him, was the fact that BIG BURN had itself shifted ground inwards when it was hanging in despite the efforts of its rider to keep it on a straight course.”

    After the CFG the Stipes report that: “CHANSONETTE (G van Niekerk) shifted out continually in the straight. Jockey G van Niekerk appeared before the Board and was strongly advised that should he continue to allow his mounts to shift significant ground in future, a charge may be brought against him.”

    At what point has GVN transgressed enough, proven beyond doubt that he cannot keep his mounts straight in a finish, and given a lengthy holiday to figure his problem out?

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