Fourie’s Ultimatum To East Cape Racing

'Authorities have to do something about it'

In this largely politically correct ‘zip your lip’ racing world, Winning Form-sponsored jockey Richard Fourie pulled no punches at Fairview on Friday when he said that the ‘loss’ of four jockeys in the Eastern Cape over the last three months was not acceptable, and that  safety of horse and rider was paramount.

Interviewed after the first leg of his ASSM Racing – Alan Greeff double, the national log-leading rider said that he, and other jockeys, ‘loved racing in Gqeberha’, but that the authorities had to do something about the track issue if they wanted to keep them riding there.

We labelled it Fairview’s Bermuda Triangle – but it’s no laughing matter (Pic – Pauline Herman)

He was clearly referencing a a heavy fall by Trent Mayhew in the pull-up area after the third race, where the young apprentice had run an 8,25 length second on Zietman Oosthuizen’s Swiss Walt.

We are endeavouring to obtain an update on Mayhew.

A track inspection was subsequently held by Fourie and colleagues Devin Ashby and Marco van Rensburg, together with an unknown official. Van Rensburg was then stood down. We are awaiting the official Stipes Report.

The Sporting Post reported on 28 February that concerns from jockeys regarding the safety of the Fairview pull-up area and what appeared to be a series of mysterious accidents had been addressed by 4Racing and the National Horseracing Authority.

It seemed to be a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of sorts.

To reiterate, after Jason Gates had fallen from Mia Regina at Fairview on 16 February and fractured his clavicle, the Sporting Post was contacted by a number of jockeys who expressed concerns that there appeared to be problems in the pull-up area, as four accidents between 5 January and the Gates’ incident, occurred without apparent cause.

Fairview General Manager Luciano Passerini received our query at the time and met with Track Manager Charles Newcombe about the Gates fall from the Alan Greeff-trained filly.

“He assured me that he had received no complaints and that he and Alan Greeff had inspected the area where Mia Regina had fallen and that nothing untoward was found regarding the track,” said Mr Passerini who proactively took special note as to the pull-up area during subsequent meetings.

“I spoke to a few jockeys and officials on the raceday following Jason’s unfortunate fall and there weren’t any complaints regarding the area in question. I have discussed the matter at length with Mr Newcombe and it is worth noting not one of them took place in the same area and for the same apparent reason. I can assure you that it is, and will always be,  our striving to ensure a racing surface that is safe for both horse and jockey,” he concluded.

Initiated by the Sporting Post, National Horseracing Authority CEO Vee Moodley requested a report from Stipendiary Steward Nick Shearer on the four incidents, and he provided the following details:

5 January 2024 – Race 7: Jockey Yeni was dislodged approximately 400m after the finish. He attributed the incident to his horse shying away from a fast-moving vehicle on the inside of the track, though no evidence supports this claim.

2 February 2024 – Race 8: Jockey R Khathi was dislodged when his mount ducked in the Pull-Up Area.

9 February – Race 5: Jockey Wesley Marwing was dislodged shortly after the finish when his mount stumbled. Limited footage is available for this incident.

16 February – Race 8: Jockey Gates was dislodged when his mount fell about 300m past the finish.

Now, we add the next faller:

19 April – Race 3: Trent Mayhew – to be advised

Who’s next?

There is now a two week break from turf action and hopefully the problem will be identified and rectified.

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