Frustrated Yeni Approaches High Court

Court orders target date of 29 March

The Gauteng High Court has pulled the proverbial crop out on the National Horseracing Authority and ordered that the Yeni-Jacobson Inquiry be concluded by 29 March.

Yeni, who together with colleague Billy Jacobson,  was served with an interim suspension after a series of jockey room incidents at Hollywoodbets Greyville racecourse on Monday 13 February, applied for urgent relief in the Gauteng High Court on Friday 17 March to be permitted to accept rides.

Muzi Yeni – frustrating time (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

He was carded to ride at Turffontein on Saturday, but was flagged as being under an interim suspension.

The urgent Gauteng High Court application was postponed sine die on Friday afternoon, but the Acting Honourable Justice Randera has ordered that the underlying Inquiry, which was rather ambitiously rostered for only a single day on 14 March at the offices of NHA  Attorneys Norton Rose Fulbright in Sandton, is now to continue on Thursday 23 March, Monday 27 March, Tuesday 28 March and Wednesday 29 March.

For the industrious Yeni, one of our busiest riders, the urgency of returning to income generating race-riding will have been frustratingly placed on ice again.

But it was ordered that in the event of the inquiry not being concluded on 29 March 2023 that he may approach the Court again.

This whole exercise must be costing the defendants – and indirectly the racing operators – a small fortune and it is noted that a an order in respect of costs of Friday’s action has been reserved.

The first respondent in the matter was the National Horseracing Authority , with Inquiry Board members Advocate Karen Lapham-Fourie and Ms Bibi Loonat, and Billy Jacobson listed as fourth respondent.

Jacobson, who was included in the Yeni application as a co-respondent to be permitted to accept rides, did not apply for any relief. He is being represented by leading Cape-based horseracing specialist attorney Robert Bloomberg, while Yeni has both attorney John Bolus and Adv Nigel Riley acting for him.

In an interesting observation from the court papers, it is noted that Inquiry Board member Advocate Lapham-Fourie advised the NHA counsel at the 14 March Inquiry that she did not believe that a further continuation of the interim suspension was legitimate. It is stated that she instructed Attorney Andrew Strachan to convey her sentiments in this regard to the NHA.

A request during the initial Inquiry by Yeni’s legal team to have both the NHA CEO, Vee Moodley, and Racing Executive, Arnold Hyde, testify was granted by the Inquiry Board. This will open up an opportunity to have further questions answered.

The media was refused access to the Inquiry on 14 March. No reasons have been given.

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