Would Jooste Have Wanted Champion Owner Award?

Honouring MJ not what he would have chosen?

The announcement at a spirited East Cape Racing Awards function held on Saturday in the HB Christian Room at Fairview Racecourse of Mayfair Speculators as the coastal region’s champion owner for the 2017/18 season elicited an initial nervous silence and then some light-hearted giggles.

Markus Jooste

Markus Jooste

That’s the way some human beings cope with those isolated awkward moments, where nobody knows quite what to say and the consequent clapping of the hands was just a means of breaking the silence and moving the moment on.

The Sporting Post has had a few enquiries questioning the sensibility of opening wounds and dragging skeletons into the public domain.

What do the rules say?

Is the champion owner award not at the discretion of the panel and does it rely solely on stakes earned? Could they not simply have used the moment to give it to another local owner – there are a few we can think of – that were far greater champions than Markus Jooste could ever hope to be?

One KZN based owner labelled the award an embarassment to horseracing, while another said that discretion is the better part of valour.

“Will they never learn? This is the post Jooste era. Next thing they will be erecting a statue at Turffontein for him. This is much bigger than horseracing. It goes to the core of the sport’s international image. No denials – but let’s just put this in the past. Insulting East Cape Racing by including the award is a slap in the face to the history and tradition of a great racing centre and all those that work so hard every day to keep it going.”

Robert Bloomberg

Robert Bloomberg – exclusion a better option for all

One man who was prepared to be quoted is Chairman of the Western Cape Racing Awards panel, Robert Bloomberg, who said:

“I can’t comment on the rationale behind the decision and criteria employed by other panels, but certainly from a Western Cape perspective, we would have excluded Mayfair Speculators from the process in the interests of all. Considering, that Markus Jooste was still a director of Mayfair for at least half of the previous racing season, I believe that he would have expected and wanted this to happen.”

Jooste is scheduled to appear before Parliament on Wednesday 5 September.

He will appear as the only witness to testify on the day and to give evidence under oath and to be questioned to assist the Committees to identify any institutional flaws and challenges existing in the financial regulatory framework or any implementation challenges in the financial regulatory framework which might have caused or given rise to the collapse of the value of Steinhoff shares.

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