Another Shot In The NHRA Foot – Fortune

Let's stop fooling ourselves - justice has to be fair

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.


Andrew Fortune in his riding days

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.

He writes:

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.

Andrew Fortune

Andrew Fortune – ‘we need to wake up and get real’

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.

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23 comments on “Another Shot In The NHRA Foot – Fortune

  1. Neill de Bruyn says:

    Looks like one or two caricatures in the NHA suffer from a “by the powers vested in me” syndrome .

  2. Bernard Vorster says:

    Well said Andy👏👏👏👏

  3. Donald Bradshaw says:

    The problem with the Mr. Nel matter / issue and many others that come up for a disciplinary hearing before the NHA is that ALL the facts are never declared and everything is shrouded in ” mystery ” such as most matters / issues in South African horseracing !

    Mr. Fortune in his article has made a VERY SERIOUS allegation against this particular stipe which cannot be allowed to go unchallenged and must be investigated to determine if his statement is in fact the truth or not ?

  4. George McDonald says:

    Cheat the scales. Did he really say cheat the scales?
    NHA is going to bury Andrew deep deep down.
    He said cheat the scalesdid he not?

  5. Nico Botha says:

    Thumbs up for Andrew Fortune. It looks like it’s a worldwide phenomenon. Look what happened to JP in Singapore.
    If you watch and follow racing you will see this quite often with their absurd decisions.

  6. hilton witz says:

    Maybe i have been sleeping but some time back a group was formed called SANTA which stands for south african national trainers association and they were going to step in and make sure the nhra are basically taken down a few notches with their abuse of power but it seems that matters regarding the nhra have got worse since SANTA has arrived on the scene …Mr Nel appeal your case until it gets to civil court where it will be thrown out ..

  7. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    At last……..The flood gates need to open………Thank you Andrew, its a brave thing you have done unlike the rest of the industry who knows all the tricks which today are blatantly obvious but everyone pretends its all above board and its all protected especially the nasty lot. Come on the rest of you who thnk racing is in a good place, really ? what you got ? lets see it all come out. The punter and owner have been led by the nose by this elitist lot for many many years and the worst part of this never ending car crash is yet to come……I hope, the status quo needs to be smashed and then SA racing will bloom and grow if it survives. The Jooste ghost has never been dealt with and like the ANC they all think they can get away with the narrow self inerests they all hold, this has been entrenched now. The one’s who stay quiet are part of the status quo or just ignorant……ignorance is no plea. Thank you again Andrew, lets see what the nasty lot have to say……I am expecting nasty but they need to be called out every meeting……ps, do you really think a trainers assc will do anything to upset the status quo ? really ?…….narrow self interests, nothing will change because its all protected.

  8. David Ferraris says:

    Hilton, you are 100% correct. I recall signing a petition not so long ago that would restrict the powers of this individual who clearly hates trainers. He has since developed more power than he has ever had.
    What Andrew Fortune has said, is what the trainers in PE ARE AFRAID to say. This particular Stipendiary Steward, I am told, has borrowed money from trainers.
    Typical of NHRA, they say an airgun was used. IT WAS IN FACT A BB gun which has a much lower velocity than an air rifle.

  9. Andre Louw says:

    Brave from Andrew to shoot himself in the foot, admitting cheating the scales to prove his valid concerns regarding incompetence of NHRA officials. Time for all owners, especially those innocent owners , in Juan’s stable to stand up for the fact that all of them were also found guilty by the NHRA for something that happened not racing related / racing premises.
    For two months his owners were denied any stake money opportunities. The horses could not do what they loved : racing for two months.

  10. Mike Knight says:

    Wow. Maybe Andrew has just opened a big can of worms. Look what a few bucks can do to the scale

  11. robin strydom says:

    Well done Andrew Fortune.Let the truth come out.

  12. Jack W.I.Mills says:

    Hats off to you manne Andrew – go back to 1990 when I was the Chairman of the TTA and SARTA and served on many other committee’s including the HRA racing board. One of our committee members Alan Forbes was victimized by the jockey club and the officials Alan approached me as chairman and asked for advice and assistance after debating the issue. My advice to Alan was you can afford it so let’s take the matter to court. To cut the story short we won the case – the jockey club appealled to the high court in Bloemfontein and they lost there as well. The Judge VAn Der Merwe gave a very strong Judgement against the jockey club c – heck it out guys – this was 1990. Regards to all and happy racing Jack W.I.Mills

  13. Mike Schuleman says:

    It seems that the Stipe has used his position to settle a personal score that has nothing to do with racing, and did not even take place on any racing premises. He should have reported the matter to the police if he wanted retribution. I am quite curious to know who he his.

  14. Danny Collins says:

    Andrew you biscuit!! I hate you and love you! I hate you if you are not on my horse and I love you when you win on my horses!

    I cannot believe what you wrote about cheating the scales with a few SA rand!!! That is JUST ANDREW FORTUNE for you!! Hence the hate and love relationship I always felt for you! I knew you do not play by the rules and you would push it as far as you could when riding in those days!

    What amazes me is that now you have moved on from being a jockey! Now you are feeling what I felt when you lost on my horse when you should have won! (Monarch Air, almost coming down with you) I will not elaborate…. You and I and a certain trainer know what you did that day! I can laugh about it today, but that day I could have bliksemed you!! 😀 Anyway, I am completely out of racing now and follow the industry on a daily basis! The feelings and love for my horses will never go away!!

    What I have said so many times are that people like you should start talking!! Bring all the bad stuff out and own up to all the *** you jockeys do and did!! It will be an all time best seller I promise you!!

    As a trainer or assistant to your wife, you feel all these injustices we all felt throughout our racing days! You and everyone in racing will never turn the corner in this industry if you cannot admit to all your schemes and grafts!! Even the trainers!! Until it all comes into the open, NOTHING will ever change!!

    The owner is the one who purchases the horses, feeds them and pays the VET BILLS!! (Yeah, these VETS!! I can write a book on them too!). That is an owner!! You have no say after that! Shut up and be happy with all the bull*** you will be fed from there!! I can write a book on this too.

    Unfortunately Andrew, nothing will come of any of your comments above! If anything you will be attacked and you will feel the NHRA coming for you!

    I wish I wrote this before I left racing! Now it sounds like sour grapes…. I can assure all of you it is not!!

    I am just sick and tired of people getting away with everything in this world today!!

    I wish all of you only the best!
    Danny Collins

  15. Derek Atkinson says:

    Watching racing at Scott’sville, races 5 and7,horse numbers 15 not shown up on the tote betting boards?

  16. Vishal Mungroo says:

    Total BS ruling, stipe sells out to the highest bidder…Karma comes around 10 fold Mr Stipe…

  17. Aubrey Meissenheimer says:

    Alledged Highway Robbery !!
    “Was on course today and was shocked to see the resident caterers were offering a 330ml can of coke for R28, cold dry pies for R35.
    Fortunately there were private stall holders in site offering the same for half the price.
    Lets hear the Excuse / Reasoning from Gold Circle / Hollywood Bets ?

    Stand by your principles, Andrew Fortune !
    Tomorrow it could be you.

    1. Editor says:

      Gold Circle’s Raf Sheik responds:
      Gold Circle only manage the racetrack and parade ring. All facilities/venues are run by the Casino. There are many restaurants etc in the Casino (similar to larger rger Casino venues) and prices vary. The occasional visitor needs to check on the various options available.

  18. Steve Reid says:

    If the weapon used was a BB gun then this is simply embarrassing in the extreme. As kids we used to shoot the sh*t out of each other with those weapons of mass destruction and even a close range (5m or less) would result in nothing more than a reddening of the skin. Never not once did a bruise occur. The BB guns with their round pellets are so weak that you could follow the trajectory of the pellet when it was fired. R100000 for that? You have got to be joking it seems that people are settling scores in a big way. There have been a few R100000 fines for trainers caught doping – how in the world can this be considered a similar infringement?

    Andrew Fortune has exposed the nefarious actions of the stipe involved in this incident where alleged fraudulent activities took place. If the men in their Ivory towers want to be seen to be impartial, they should polygraph both gentlemen and act accordingly. I asked questions about PE and the lack of stiping staff many moons back and as per usual was ignored. Reap what you sow gentlemen.

  19. Aubrey Meissenheimer says:

    To Gold Circle’s Raf Sheik – Thanks for the response.
    But such action and attitude by these “Traders” at your Course, could be extremely detrimental and damaging to your Reputation and Integrity!
    If that is acceptable to you and your Company, then just forget that this state of affairs was brought to your attention.
    Ke Sera Sera !

  20. Sherwin Naidoo says:

    Mr Ed, with regards to the Scottsville pricing issue. Please ask Mr Sheik if he is content that his patrons are subjected to such pricing. The caterers in question are situated on the course next to the bookmakers. They are only there on race days and most definitely set up for Gold Circle patrons and not the casinos. Even if this now appears to be outsourced, can Gold Circle turn a blind eye. Maybe Mr Sheik is onto something, the occasional visitor should leave the racecourse go upstairs to the casino, enjoy the food and stay there to play the slots instead.

  21. hilton witz says:

    The issue of catering at scotsville should be on a different thread but i am not surprised at the attitude of take it or leave it from gold circle officials and how ironic it happens at HOLLYWOODBETS SCOTSVILLE a company who prides itself in looking after their customers and when visiting their shops has a menu that does not rip customers off as they are fully aware that their main line of business is selling betting tickets ..I HAVE often wondered why hollywood ever got into bed with gold circle but realise it was either them or phumelela at the time and gold circle were the lesser of the two evils ….What cant be pleasing to hollywood is that customer dissatisfaction at gold circle venues has a negative effect on the hollywood brand

  22. Rian Rix says:

    Well said Danny Collins, just a pity you dont write more often
    The people in charge of the Nhra need to be investigated and Moodley altercation all those years ago needs justice

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