Jocks & Jabs – Operators Have It Under Control

10 January 2022 is the deadline

All spectators, participants and stakeholders attending race meetings at 4Racing and Cape Racing venues are required to either furnish proof of full vaccination, or where a medical condition exists that precludes vaccination, a negative antigen test result prior to each raceday.

That statement is from 4Racing Executive Patrick Davis and was made in response to a general query from the Sporting Post. This followed information reaching our offices from various credible sources that certain leading jockeys were not vaccinated and were being given preferential treatment with a blind eye being shown by authorities.

Patrick Davis (pic: hamishNIVENPhotography)

In what is clearly virgin territory for all stakeholders, there has been finger pointing about window dressing, weak links in terms of access, and buck-passing.

Our first port of call was National Horseracing Authority CEO Vee Moodley, who seemed to us to be the logical person to approach, in view of the fact that the racing regulator oversees the covid regulation compliance. Just last Saturday they took issue with various aspects of control at the Vaal Racecourse.

Mr Moodley referred us to the racing operators, and also suggested we speak to the jockey associations.

Vee Moodley

While we are not on a witch hunt and did not name any individual in our communication to the operators, and were looking to merely outline the facts of the procedures for public information purposes, Patrick Davis confirmed at the outset that due to POPIA regulations the Racing Operators are not permitted to comment on personal information relating to individuals.

He was, however, able to confirm that all raceday participants – including jockeys – have been advised of the requirements outlined in the opening paragraph of this editorial, and for those not fully vaccinated when the regulations were introduced on 20 November, a deadline of 10 January was set to get their second vaccination.

“In the interim, pending that deadline, jockeys still awaiting their second vaccination have been allowed to ride on the proviso that they produce a negative antigen test result prior to each raceday.  This is being strictly managed by the Racing Operators via SOP’s established in line with government regulations,” he said.

Davis also added that it is worth pointing out that there has been no precedent for procedures such as this for sporting events in South Africa and the racing operators have been pioneers in establishing them to be compliant and ensure racing can continue safely.

He said that further technical enhancements are on the table to manage this process even more efficiently going forward.

Gold Circle, who do not require full vaccination for access to their racecourses, did not respond to our email.

If you have had an experience of double standards or any compromise in the application of the control procedures, please drop us a line to [email protected].

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