Stipes’ Busy Day – Highveld Work Riders Under Spotlight

Feni four-timer a highlight

The Work Riders raceday at the Vaal on Thursday produced some notable highlights, but has raised concerns after eight crop excesses and a number of infringements over the eight races kept the Stipes busy.

The day belonged to Anathi Feni who rode half the card, booting home four winners.

Trainer Alson Ndzilana saddled one of Anathi Feni’s four winners (Pic – JC Photos)

Siniko Mtshikitshiki also enjoyed a memorable day, with his first career ride a winning one.

But the Stipes Report raised concerns. Click here to read it.

“We will be scheduling a meeting with Messrs James Maree and Marthinus Mienie to discuss this and how best to address the matter,” NHA Racing Control Executive Arnold Hyde told the Sporting Post in response to our request for a comment on the lengthy Stipes report.

It’s clear that eight incidents of crop excesses is unacceptable for a sport keen to maintain a good public image, and the time appears to have arrived for a review of the crop rules for work riders on the Highveld.

The success of Craig Du Plooy with the Cape Work Riders in the Cape probably serves as a guide to what is the right route to follow.

Down South, work riders carry the crop, but are only allowed to use it forward of the saddle, and then only with both hands on the reins. In the event of their mount hanging for example, they are allowed to change crop hands. Thus use of the crop amounts to nothing more than a tap down the shoulder in the worst case.

Visually, the work riders on the Highveld, who get plenty more race-riding experience, tend to raise their arms very high with the crop. This can create the impression to the uninformed observer that the horse is being punished severely.

While some failed to ride their horses out and others dropped reins on Thursday, that can happen to professional jockeys.

Our maximum crop strikes are 12 – see the list of the offenders:

  • Phelisile Mongqawa – 14 strikes
  • Anathi Feni- failed to ride mount out
  • Tshepiso Matsoele – failed to ride mount out
  • Siyabonga Mkhumbuzi – failed to ride mount out
  • Siyabonga Mthembu – 13 strikes
  • Aanthi Feni – 14 strikes
  • Japie Bessel – 15 strikes
  • Goodman Dadamasi – 15 strikes
  • Tshepiso Matsoele – 16 strikes
  • Thomas Ncume – 14 strikes
  • Phelisile Monqawa – 15 strikes

The only way to practice use of the crop and have faults corrected is through race-riding experience and it will be back to the drawing board – we can probably expect to see changes on the Highveld.

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