The Juan Nel-Air Gun incident that culminated in the Fairview trainer getting a suspended warning off and receiving a R100 000 fine could be a watershed in South African horseracing’s ongoing shaky marriage with the National Horseracing Authority.
Retired former SA Champion Jockey Andrew Fortune writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag that he is getting old and he is also realising that time is precious.
He writes that he doesn’t want to lie on his death bed having regrets of not having said a word that something really needs to change.
I don’t for one moment say that Juan Nel’s actions are right. I don’t know what the possible reason could be for him allegedly shooting an air gun at a Stipe. What I do accept is that there are consequences for these kinds of actions – ask me I know all about it!
What puzzles me first is that this incident occurred outside of horseracing and official premises where the National Horseracing Authority have jurisdiction. As I understand, it wasn’t even racing related.
So if my wife gives me a smack at home, am I allowed to make that an NHRA case? Where is this going to end? What legacy are we going to leave for future generations? When is somebody going to stand up?
And let’s face it – if it wasn’t for the generosity of MOD and Hollywoodbets, we would’ve all been out of jobs, anyway.
One of my main concerns is – when is everybody going to be treated the same?
I have looked at Juan Nel’s stats for this racing season so far. Two months are left of the current season and he has earned R200 000, based on trainer commissions on his gross stakes.
How do the NHRA justify this fine for an out-of-racing incident of R100 000?
Maybe it’s not their problem, but where is Mr Nel going to get the money? We all know that most of the horses in many yards are owned by the trainers.
Another thought – where does the fine money even go? What is the money spent on?
Through it all, in my opinion the NHRA are allowed to do whatever they please with absolutely no accountability for their actions.
Their motto is ‘Maintaining the Integrity of Horseracing’.
If you dare question this with solid facts and/or evidence you will find yourself in hot water, as I have on many occasions.
For instance, many will recall the incident involving Mr Vee Moodley (CEO of the NHRA) and Mr Larry Wainstein (then CEO of the RA) at the Summer Cup a few years ago in the official Board Room in front of 20 odd witnesses. A fight broke out between the Officials and the trainers – foul language was used and directed at people and only the trainers involved and Mr Wainstein were ever dealt with. The CEO was conveniently forgotten about – after he was the main instigator, in my opinion.
I questioned Racing Executive Mr Arnold Hyde about this matter and asked why there was no enquiry into the CEO’s behaviour and conduct. I was told by Hyde that he couldn’t remember the case. He will probably call me a liar – but I stand by my statement that this is the truth.
The Stipendiary Steward involved in the Juan Nel matter is well known to many racing stakeholders.
He used to be the Clerk of Scales a few years back, when I was still riding. It always cost me a few bucks but let’s just say that it was not difficult to cheat the scale under his watch. And no Stipe should surely ever be in a position where he borrows money from people over whom he has authority and jurisdiction? It makes for potentially bad outcomes
I can give provide plenty more examples.
I am not saying that policing horseracing is an easy job and I do believe that rules are very necessary – but make them apply to all, and then fairly and evenly!
Take the case of Robert Khathi who got denied the chance of riding in the Gr1 Durban July as it was in the middle of his suspension – however Gavin Lerena got a whole day taken off his suspension for an ordinary meeting in Johannesburg as a horse was needing a prep run! Is that really all being equal under the law? Is that consistency? Is that fair?
The sad thing is that the entire industry – all of us – are to blame for where we are today. Double standards, lies, ego’s. Telling the truth hurts – nobody likes to hear it.
We need to stop fooling ourselves that everything’s okay. It’s not. And I should know – I have been there and lived it.
For me it looks like they have forgotten what they wanted to accomplish when they started out.
Let’s wake up and do something today.