Racing Helps Rescue Efforts

Champion Trainers Step Up To The Plate

Cape Town fire

Cape Town fire

The devastating fire that started on Sunday has now been raging across Cape Town for four days, wreaking untold damage.  Fanned by strong winds, it flared up in Muizenberg above Boyes Drive on Monday and spread to Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay, Tokai forest, and Noordhoek, which has been declared a disaster zone.  But among the heartache and the destruction have also come some amazing acts of bravery and selflessness.  Champion trainers Snaith Racing have shown that they’re champions in more than just name, by throwing their time and energies into the rescue efforts as well.

Thanks New Turf carriers for sending the truck at 2 am this morning to move any last stranded horses and to all the amazing people that helped these beautiful animals Belinda Haytread, Jackie Kaiser and all those who helped u …. I now have show jumpers in my paddocks who think they’ve been put back into training

So read Snaith Racing’s Facebook status on Wednesday, 4 March 2015. What our Champion trainers didn’t say, however, is that in the wake of the devastating fires that have swept Cape Town this week, they were at the coalface too.

Jono Snaith

Jono Snaith – We do it for the horses

We chatted to Jono Snaith this afternoon who told us “Everyone’s played their part. My mom and dad have been down there quite a lot. With Dad having been a Western Province show-jumper and Mom a WP show rider, they know the community very well and were down there helping their friends. Dad was at Constantia Uitsig during the day and said it’s not safe. We phoned Choice and New Turf at about 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon to say please have guys on standby. I knew we were in trouble when the wind came up about 12 o’clock last night.”

“We had to evacuate Uitsig. New Turf and Choice Carriers were down there helping anyone and everyone. Not only did they end up working through the night, they had to do racing loads as well today. It’s good to see people in racing pitching in as well. My mom’s been dropping off tortoises and we’ve got a bunch of horses on our farm. It’s just for the next day or two until it’s safe for them to go back, but it’s only a pleasure to help. Justin was at the stables to oversee the first load arriving at 1am and then just ended up staying at the yard. There was another load at 2 and another at 3. He had to take the first string at 5:30am and then saddle runners at the races, so it’s been a pretty long day for him, but we do it for the horses. Sadly, it’s not just the horses that are affected. I walk in the mountains a lot and people don’t realise how many animals are up there. There are so many animals affected and the SPCA is totally overwhelmed at the moment.”

Justin Snaith

Justin has had a long day

Chris and Sue have been helping with the wildlife rescue efforts as have Sue’s sister Jenny Haytread and her daughter Belinda (who most know as Mike Bass’s top work rider and Pocket Power’s owner). Belinda, who had also worked right through the night and all of today, told us “We started already on Monday. We’ve been evacuating horses from Tokai and we’ve got some here and some at Justin’s place, some at the old Lane Stables and at SA Riding for the Disabled (SARDA), but everybody has been unbelievable. We’ve had people ringing from here all the way to Caledon volunteering paddocks and horse boxes. Some of the hacks haven’t moved off their properties for years and wouldn’t go into the horse boxes, so we had people walking them out, riding them out – people just pulled together and it just worked. I just feel so sorry for the other animals out there though – you can hear them crying and screaming.”

Although the area is still not safe for the public, SPCA Wildlife Inspectors are working alongside rescue services to do as much search and recovery work as possible to help find, locate and if necessary treat any surviving animals. The SPCA is appealing for assistance with first aid equipment (cotton wool, bandages, etc), fire protective gear (clothing, boots, gloves), blankets, towels and large water bowls and drop off points include the SPCA Premises in Grassy Park (Cnr 1st Ave and First Road), Pick n Pay Constantia and Tokai Public library. Alternatively donations can be made at

Anyone who hears the animals in distress in the fire areas, has been asked to please contact the SPCA on 021 7004140. Jenny and Belinda Haytread as well as the Snaith family have also volunteered to collect any tortoises that have survived and people in affected areas are encouraged to leave water out for any animals that come down the mountain.

Firefighters will continue through the night.  While it has been a stressful and in many cases, devastatingly tragic few days for people all across the city, hats off to the Snaiths, Stan Elley, the Haytread family, the Shams at New Turf, the Choice Carriers team and all the other unsung heroes who have stood shoulder to shoulder with the rescue efforts.

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