Fairview – So What Happens Now?

Time to pull up the safety socks

Five days after the unfortunate incident in the final race at Friday’s Fairview racemeeting, where jockey Gabriell Pieterse was injured, there has not been an official word from Nelson Mandela Bay racing operator, 4Racing.

Young rider Gabriell Pieterse, pictured above, was dislodged when he became severely unbalanced after having to check his mount Maiden’s Cove away from the heels of another runner, shortly after the field had passed the winning post for the first time.

While we do not agree with his stance in standing by his personnel and the lack of detail in the official Stipes report, full marks to NHA CEO Vee Moodley for being prepared to speak to the media. He has taken a lot of stick for suggesting that the correct decision was made in the circumstances that prevailed.

An informal poll conducted by the Sporting Post had 89% of respondents suggesting that the race should have been stopped, while 8% agreed with the Stipes to let it run.

The Sporting Post has since learnt that there were shockingly apparently no contingencies in place at Fairview to call a halt to the race. The matter was apparently discussed at a recent Trainers meeting according to reports, but clearly nothing was done about it.

That throws some light as to why the Stipes continued on Friday, and is a sad indictment on the apparent lack of care by the racing regulator and the racing operator.

Some have argued that the jockeys are responsible for their own safety – that makes sense to a degree, but given the fact that the racing is conducted under the auspices of 4Racing and policed by the NHA, the jockeys rely on salaried officials doing their jobs properly and not putting lives at risk.

We have also learnt that there were no medical emergency contact lists in place, and that a trainer had to phone the inured rider’s next-of-kin.

In the bizarre absence of an official inquiry, the best our racing can do is learn from the shambles, even though we understand that nobody is ever likely to be held accountable.

A jockey called the Sporting Post offices on Saturday and said there was a literal world of difference between the professionalism and approach at Fairview, versus that at the Cape tracks.

“At every start, Fred Bosman directs our attention to the flag-man and reinforces procedures. Nothing was done at Fairview before the last race on Friday,” he confirmed.

A spokesman for Cape Racing confirmed that, unlike Fairview, they have less races that are run around the track twice at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth. There are more such races at Hollywoodbets Durbanville.

“We have five officials in various positions around the track.They are in radio contact and talking all the time. It’s a loose-horse protocol in essence, but also serves as a means of monitoring unforeseen occurrences on the track – like a jockey fall, for example. We had a meeting this week following the Fairview incident and are looking at the possible installation of red lights and speakers to further enhance our capacity in order to be ready for any eventuality. As we have a conservancy on our property, we also have to be aware of the logistical issues of running power, for instance,” he added.

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