Billy Opens Up About Jockey Room Fracas

Two senior jockeys square up

The KZN Stipendiary Board have opened an inquiry into the incident at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Monday that led to two senior local jockeys being stood down and ordered off the racecourse after two seperate scuffles.

NHA CEO Vee Moodley confirmed the inquiry and said that ‘the standard NHA protocols will be adhered to’.

Vee Moodley – NHA CEO needs to take assertive action and quickly!

He was responding to a call for action from the Coastal Jockeys Association who confirmed that a case of intimidation had been opened after the incident and that they were dissatisfied with the conduct of one of the jockeys involved, and also the suggestion that the rider had allegedly utilised a mobile phone in contravention of NHA rules. The association asked what action would be taken by the NHA to protect all jockeys going forward.

The Coastal Jockeys Association said that in their opinion the behaviour of one of the involved jockeys ‘has been unacceptable, unprofessional and dangerous as a licensed jockey. We can’t have this behaviour from a fellow jockey’, they informed Vee Moodley.

The Sporting Post spoke to both jockeys allegedly involved in the incidents, which occurred prior to and after the first race.

Muzi Yeni – will let the process take its course (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Muzi Yeni said that he had every confidence in the ability of the Stipendiary Stewards who were present and had witnessed what happened to deal with the matter and wished to make no further comment.

Billy Jacobson on the other hand said that he was willing to play open cards and tell his side of the story, as any self-respecting husband and father should never be placed in a situation in his work-place where he would be subject to threats against his family.

“I am very happy to talk to you. I know what I did and there are ample witnesses – I have nothing to hide,” Jacobson told the Sporting Post as he explained that the trouble started when the jockeys were being briefed about the sectional timing equipment prior to the first race.

Billy Jacobson is led in after a recent Hollywoodbets Scottsville win on Cliff Hanger (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

“Can I start by saying that I have never had any personal issues with Muzi Yeni. He is not my personal friend and I don’t necessarily like his style of riding. But I had no issues until my family was threatened with violence,” added Jacobson, who went on to explain that he had been wasting and that the jockeys had been requested to wear two different sectional timing devices.

“I raised the question in the discussion whether there would be a weight allowance as I was a little concerned. Muzi started chirping and insulting me. Saying things like ‘why are you worried as you don’t have any rides anyway’ and things on those lines.”

Jacobson says that the next minute Yeni jumped up, came around a few people and stuck his hand in his face.

“I said I am not your child or something to that effect and asked him to get his hand out of my face. Next minute we were tussling on the floor. No blows were traded and we were pulled apart. Shortly after that he was on his phone muttering something on the lines of ‘I need your help’. I laughed at him and he said ‘you are going to get f*$#ed up.”

Yeni then rode in the first race and Jacobson says he went to the Stipes and apologised for his part in the melee.

“I told them for the record that Muzi had phoned somebody and was talking about having me f*$#ed up. I know of an incident in the past at the same venue and did not want something to happen on the racecourse that could be further damaging to racing. Mr Ryan Hutcheson assured me that they would deal with it and had noted the concern.”

When the jockeys returned after the first race, Muzi Yeni and Rob Khathi were arguing, according to Jacobson.

“In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have, but I said to Robert Khathi, ‘we know he’s a dirty rider’. Muzi said ‘you are useless. You will never ride as many winners as I have.You gonna get f*$#ed up today. And your wife and kids too’. That’s when I lost it. I hit a blank. Nobody threatens anybody’s family in what is already a violent society.”

Jacobson recounts that there  were multiple witnesses around.

“I ran at him and grabbed him. We were eventually pulled apart and the Stipes told us that we had been stood down and should leave the premises.”

Jacobson stresses that he ‘can stand up for himself’ and was not worried about his personal safety after Yeni’s alleged threats.

But he has a wife and sons of 2 and 3.

“They are my first priority and I will protect them. Nobody in the 21st century should be permitted to openly threaten violence against anybody anywhere.”

At 20h00 on Monday evening an intimidation charge was laid by Jacobson at the Berea SAPS.

“Somebody has to stand up and be counted and do something. I realise that by talking to the press I may be opening myself up, but I need to speak. Violence and intimidation cannot be condoned. I have every faith that there were sufficient witnesses present to ensure that decisive action is taken by the racing authorities, and whatever action and punishment needs to be meted out, is implemented,” concluded Jacobson.

The Coastal Jockeys Association have also requested that the NHA explain how a mobile device was openly utilised in the jockeys room.

The NHA needs to act decisively and not to allow this matter to drag out as we have seen in the past.

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