The National Horseracing Authority has been served with a summons of R70 million issued on behalf lawyers acting for Turffontein trainer Tony Peter.
NHA CEO Vee Moodley confirmed to the Sporting Post on Thursday morning that the summons had been received, and was shared with their Board this morning.
He said that due process will follow, but did not add any further comment.
While specific details are vague, the Sporting Post believes from reliable sources that the summons was served on Tuesday 12 December and names the National Horseracing Authority as first defendant, and the body’s Racing Control Executive Arnold Hyde as the second defendant, jointly and severally.
There are three individual claims listed, including damages arising from withdrawals from a racemeeting on 27 July, following Out of Competition specimen collection that took place at Randjesfontein Training Centre and Turffontein Racecourse on 24 July 2023.
It has since been confirmed that specimens taken from the Peter runners Axel Collins and You’re My Sunshine were analysed and the presence of the prohibited substance, Lidocaine was found to be present. An inquiry related to the veterinary medical register is ongoing.
The second claim relates to the unprecedented scratching of the Tony Peter runners on the morning of the Betway Summer Cup day.
The third claim centres around comments made by NHA Racing Control Executive Arnold Hyde in a televised interview on the same day.
While there has been uplifting and positive news emanating from the racing renaissance in the Cape in recent times, it will not only be the Highveld that has been impacted upon in a tumultuous five months for South African horseracing. The uncertainty and tension of the Tony Peter-NHA saga has split the industry in three, with some camps anti both sides of the summons!
There have been suggestions that the Peters are the victims of their own success, with sentiment in certain quarters crying foul that Tony Peter is effectively being targeted by the NHA.
“The unfair, biased, discriminatory, and subjective directive by the NHA towards the Peter yard is clear for all to see as it is not being applied generally”, suggested Paul Peter in a phone call to the Sporting Post this week.
“If one happens to drive past the Peter stable on a raceday, one will observe a stipendiary steward guard, doubling as a security guard for the NHA. In fact on Thursday and Saturday last week the Peter yard was privy to two such individuals, with go-pro’s and video recorders in hand,” added the concerned Dad, himself a former SA Champion trainer.
Paul Peter adds that even on certain non-race days, the NHA ‘arrive at any hour’ with unknown, ‘unauthorised individuals’ in tow.
“They turn up unannounced and without the trainer being present or having any knowledge of the visit. This approach seems designed to tarnish the reputation of the Peter Stable and can only be construed as a form of harassment and is completely unfounded,” he laments.
Despite the intimidatory dark clouds and whether the NHA officials are present or not, the Peter stable continues to churn out their winners and maintain a leading win strike-rate.
All told, this distraction is awful PR fodder for an industry trying hard to do great things to pull itself out of the doldrums.