Can We Really Blame Thulani?

Watershed Monday ahead

The unprecedented suspension of a Stipendiary Steward following last Saturday’s Turffontein objection howler could yet see the employment and training processes of our racing regulator in the dock, rather than the crucifixion of a man who really was just doing a job he obviously is not competent to perform.

Thulani Khanyile

Thulani Khanyile – scapegoat or cuplrit?

The three man board that came to a conclusion to uphold one of the most far-fetched objections many of us have ever witnessed have become the unwitting newsmakers of the year in a racing season barely a month old.

National Horseracing AuthorityThere is little question that Messrs Khanyile, Foxcroft and Timm evolved into the racing public’s equivalent of the three stooges in minutes as they mulled over the evidence in that wood-panelled boardroom before reaching a decision they’d battle to ever justify again in a million years under cross examination.

One voted to overrule, the other to abstain – and the Chairman then took it upon himself to sign what has taken the family man to the cliff-edge of a career death leap.

Khanyile then came out of the boardroom and shot his other foot clean off in a television interview that cried ‘help – send me on a Dale Carnegie Course, please’.

He was smug, fumbled over his words and came across as a suit totally out of his depth and with little compassion for his target audience.

He even gaffed that it was not ‘an anonymous decision – it was a split decision’.

Hardly a thing you would say in a public exercise to build confidence in your ruling.

stewards-tower-630x420The reality is that it is Khanyile’s bosses who should be facing a hearing on Monday.

He has been doing the job for about ten years but the learning curve is a long one and he obviously has some way to go.

And why suspend him and not the other two? It’s supposed to be a tribunal and that should surely insulate an individual?

What did they expect Khanyile was going to do if not banished – interfere with witnesses or tamper with evidence?

National Horseracing AuthorityWorse still – three days later at the Vaal, Timm was back – this time as Race day Chairman with his sidekick Foxcroft – and who were they supported by? You guessed it – three trainees!

One can only wonder where all the experience of the likes of the Jock Sproules and Mike Tillets of bygone days has gone.

There are are still a few good men in the thinning ranks – like Ernie Rodrigues, Tarquin Norval and Shaun Parker. But frankly, there don’t seem to be too many others.

And is this not a good time to review the recruitment process and aim at capturing good ex-jockeys?

The NHA should never become a second home for moderate ex-trainers or failed jockeys. But when last did a Piere Strydom or Anton Marcus send in his CV?

Karl Neisius - end of an era

Karl Neisius – they could not buy his experience

The experience and knowledge of a Karl Neisius, Glen Hatt or Felix Coetzee should be welcomed with open arms.

It is almost impossible to teach someone to be as good a Stipe as an experienced ex-jockey would be on his very first day.  Because on that first day he arrives with 30 years experience.

It’s not that you can’t learn it – it’s just that experience takes time.  As does good judgement and confidence.

Stiping and policing horseracing is an ancient art.

But in this age of centralised control and new media the job has lost a lot of its personality and prestige.

There are minimum punishments, fine targets and policies that have removed the often more effective fatherly personal touch of a stern word of warning and a kick in the butt.

stewards-inquiry-006And the unsympathetic chorus of vocal ‘armchair Stipes’ armed to the hilt with instant slow motion replays and public chat forums to grandstand on, make a thankless job that much tougher.

There is no betting on the Khanyile hearing outcome.

But we would take as much as we could of the chance that he will emerge with a slap on the wrist and his job intact.

And will anything really change?

Probably not.

Have Your Say - *Please Use Your Name & Surname

Comments Policy
The Sporting Post encourages readers to comment in the spirit of enlightening the topic being discussed, to add opinions or correct errors. All posts are accepted on the condition that the Sporting Post can at any time alter, correct or remove comments, either partially or entirely.

All posters are required to post under their actual name and surname – no anonymous posts or use of pseudonyms will be accepted. You can adjust your display name on your account page or to send corrections privately to the EditorThe Sporting Post will not publish comments submitted anonymously or under pseudonyms.

Please note that the views that are published are not necessarily those of the Sporting Post.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



Popular Posts