A relatively new National Horseracing Authority rule could save the bacon of top South African heavyweight and 2023 Gr1 L’Ormarins King’s Plate-winning rider Bernard Fayd’herbe.
The SA Jockey Academy graduate was handed a twelve month suspension and a fine after he was deemed to have not given his mount every chance in the third race at the Champ de Mars on Saturday 13 May.
Fayd’herbe rode the Dominic Zaki-trained Castle Of Glass, who was beaten into second by the reportedly well-backed Arlingtons Revenge (Rye Joorawon).
In a dramatic race, the Stipes also overruled seperate objections.
But after an inquiry the following week, Fayd’Herbe was suspended for a year and fined Rs100 000 (about R43 000) after being adjudged to have cost Castle Of Glass victory by not riding him vigorously enough.
Watch the race here and you be the judge – Fayd’herbe is in yellow with black cap:
On social media, the comments varied.
Experienced racing man Dave Goss labelled it a ‘soft ride’, while former SA Champion Jockey Andrew Fortune conceded that he was no fan of Fayd’herbe, but couldn’t see the year suspension in the ride.
Fayd’herbe has the right of appeal and he will have to exercise this if he wishes to take advantage of the NHA’s rule 91.1.3, which allows a rider suspended by specified horseracing authorities abroad, including Mauritius, to appeal against the suspension within 90 days of the finalisation of that appeal hearing.
Here is the rule, amended on 1 August 2022:
91. SUSPENSION OF PERSONS
91.1 Any PERSON who:
91.1.1 has been suspended in terms of the RULES shall be prohibited from participating in horse racing to the extent determined by the INQUIRY BOARD imposing the suspension and for such period as may be prescribed in the suspension order; or
91.1.2 has been suspended by any SPECIFIED RACING AUTHORITY, shall be prohibited from participating in horse racing in SOUTHERN AFRICA to the extent determined by the racing authority imposing the suspension and for such period as may be prescribed in the suspension order.
91.1.3 The provisions of RULE 91.1.2 shall not be enforced if, on formal application by the person suspended or disqualified, which application must be made within 90 days of the finalisation of the appeal hearing and must particularise reasons why the penalty imposed does not comply with the laws of natural justice and/or such other applicable grounds and should set out the terms of the declaration sought, a committee consisting of a member of the
LICENSING BOARD and two senior STIPENDIARY STEWARDS, has on consideration of all the facts and circumstances including all the evidence heard and procedure adopted by the SPECIFIC RACING AUTHORITY, is of the view that the procedure adopted and/or the evidence heard and/or prevailing circumstances, do not warrant the finding and/or the sanction imposed. The appointed committee may amend and/or vary and/or reduce the penalty accordingly as they deem fit in their sole discretion.
That means there is no automatic reciprocation of the penalty and an NHA panel may vary the finding.
The Sporting Post spoke to NHA CEO Vee Moodley on Friday afternoon. Mr Moodley understandably did not wish to comment in view of the possibility of the matter following its course here.
It has been reported that Snaith Racing have announced that they want Fayd’herbe to ride Pomp And Power in the Hollywoodbets Durban July. This seems quite optimistic with just over 40 days to the big race and given the fact that the wheels of justice grind slowly.
It’s certainly been a rollercoaster stint on the island for Fayd’Herbe who has been in good form. In three meetings prior to 13 May he enjoyed eight wins in eleven rides, including four terrific winners on 29 April.
On 29 March Fayd’herbe was also charged with a contravention of Rule 71.2.1 read with 71.4.1 for having failed a breathalyzer test on 25 March 2023, prior to a racemeeting at the Champ de Mars.
The sample of his breath disclosed upon analysis a reading in excess of 10 micrograms of ethanol per 100 ml of breath.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge and after hearing evidence in the matter on 29 March 2023 and subsequently on 30 March 2023 and 6 April 2023, the Inquiry Board was of the opinion that it could not be established that the device used for sampling was calibrated as, a certificate for the device could not be produced by the horseracing organizer, PTP PLC.
Therefore, it could not be established at the inquiry that the analysis which was provided from the breathalyzer device in question was accurate. Following this conclusion, there was no remaining evidence in the matter for it to be proceeded with and Fayd’herbe was found not guilty of the charge on the technicality.
This was a sequel to the embarrassing situation that the People’s Turf PLC were charged with a contravention of Rule 11.18 in that on 25 March 2023, with the operator having failed to have and maintained a calibrated breathalyzer in order to facilitate the sampling of Jockeys.
This resulted in all data collected from the samples analysed on the day by the breathalyzer provided being declared invalid.
The red-faced operator pleaded guilty to the charge and was duly found guilty.
After considering the evidence in mitigation and aggravation, the PTP PLC was fined the sum of Rs 100 000. They have the right of appeal against the severity of the penalty imposed.
Never a dull moment down Mauritius way!