Muzi Still In Limbo

News blackout smacks of apartheid era approach

The Inquiry involving jockeys Billy Jacobson and Muzi Yeni will apparently continue in Johannesburg on 3 and 4 April, having commenced on Tuesday.

The Inquiry board consists of Advocate Karen Lapham-Fourie, a former member of the Jo’burg bar, and Ms Bibi Loonat, whom we believe once headed up Legal & Compliance at Phumelela.

The matter is being heard at the offices of the National Horseracing Authority’s attorneys Norton Rose Fulbright in Sandton. which we believe is unprecedented.

We are reliably informed that Jacobson initially faced 6 charges and Yeni 8 following allegations of verbal and physical exchanges in the Hollywoodbets Greyville jockey’s quarters on Monday 13 January.

Yeni additionally also allegedly made use of a mobile phone in contravention of the NHA rules hence his additional 2 charges.

There are a number of eye-witnesses set to testify and given the serious repercussions for both defendants in light of the seemingly astronomical number of charges, it is surprising that more days were not originally set aside.

Jacobson is being represented by leading Cape-based horseracing specialist attorney Robert Bloomberg, while Yeni has both attorney John Bolus and Adv Nigel Riley, whom some may remember as a former trainer turned breeder, acting for him.

We have also learnt that a request by Mr Yeni’s legal team to have both the NHA CEO, Vee Moodley, and Racing Executive, Arnold Hyde, testify was granted by the Inquiry Board. This of course will render them liable to cross-examination from both defendants legal representatives.

Both riders have been placed under an indefinite suspension since 15 February 2023, although Yeni was engaged for 6 rides at Turffontein today. The Sporting Post has just learnt that the interim suspension will not be lifted and that Muzi Yeni will be removed from his rides today.  He could have late recourse through an urgent interdict.

The Sporting Post formally approached the National Horseracing Authority in order to obtain their sanction to have a representative present to cover the Inquiry.

Our request was supported by the defendants but declined without reason by the racing regulator. It has been pointed out to the Sporting Post that there is little precedence or policy but that the Gavin Howes ‘weights case’, as one example,  was attended by racing media.

So the public and stakeholders suffer as no media release has been published over 24 hours after the postponement late Tuesday afternoon.

Our offices have been inundated with calls from punters and stakeholders asking for an update. Keeping the public in the dark somehow seems to be part of the culture, doesn’t it?

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