The final race at Fairview on Friday 14 July 2023 has become bigger news than anybody could have imagined.
Jockey Gabriell Pieterse was badly injured in a fall and is still in hospital.
Three days after his life changed forever, he pens an open letter and calls for somebody to be held accountable – not for the accident, but for the subsequent risk he and others who came to his assistance, were exposed to, when the Stipes allowed the event to continue.
Good day everyone,
The incident which occurred at Fairview on Friday was obviously scary, severe, and completely uncalled for.
I’d like to express my deepest disappointment in the safety measures that were taken to not only look out for myself, but for the handlers, vets, medics and jockeys themselves in the race.
As we have known there were no safety nets in place if an incident like this would have to occur which unfortunately it did.
There is no red flag for a race unless it’s out of the gates due to a false start.
While on the course and during the race the medics were trying to pump blood out of my lungs because my septum had broken and blood was rushing back into my lungs. They are not obliged and not allowed to move me because I may have had a severe back injury and movement would have only made that worse.
The race should’ve been called off at the top of the straight.
It would’ve prevented what could’ve been multiple jockeys from being dislodged, multiple grooms and handlers being struck by oncoming horses, and myself who could’ve been trampled while I’m having life-saving procedures.
All of the above is uncalled for and a great sign of unprofessional conduct on behalf of 4Racing and the NHRA.
Action must be taken not only to ensure our safety as the professionals who risk our lives day in and day out, but to the workers who risked their well-being on a moral conscience to keep me safe.
Somebody has to be accountable, somebody needs to take responsibility and it is not something I will let go until those in charge of our safety are held responsible and face consequences for these circumstances.
Everyone was lucky to have avoided what would’ve been a terrible disaster, but we do not risk our lives based on luck! We do not race to have a domino effect of tragedies in one race.
I am beside myself as I lie in a hospital bed thinking about a million different outcomes that could’ve come from this reckless and careless decision to not only allow the race to proceed, but the fact that there was nothing to stop the race itself. It’s disgusting. It’s an embarrassment to the racing fraternity on a global scale.
There’s no hush hush about this. People from all over the world have flooded me with messages – not to see if I was okay, but to ask whether the cancellation of the race was even considered. People must pay for the repercussions of this terrible and irresponsible act.