Veteran Cape Trainer Speaks Out Against ‘NHA Victimization’

'Bully-boy tactics' - Bloomberg

While no press release has been forthcoming from the National Horseracing Authority, a veteran Milnerton trainer has told a shocking story of what cannot be termed anything less than victimization by the National Horseracing Authority’s senior management.

Vaughan Marshall explains that an Inquiry was held on Monday 6 May 2024 at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth Racecourse.

The man with a genuinely squeaky clean record was charged with a transgression of Rule 10.5.14, in particular that a veterinary treatment has not been accurately recorded as a treatment record in a Veterinary Treatment Register (VTR).

Vaughan Marshall receives his Winter Nursery trophy from Cape Racing’s Tammy Gilmour at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Sunday (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Vaughan Marshall told us up front that he has never been one to run to the press, but he feels so aggrieved about what he has been subjected to that he is compelled to speak out publicly in the hope that others don’t suffer the same fate, and that this type of behaviour ceases forthwith.

“I have been a trainer for 43 years and have never had a single prohibited substance transgression against my name. Two of my horses jarred up in a race and the next day when I was off, and after discussion with my assistant of 14 years, Adele Alsop, my vet Dr Alisdair Cameron, duly administered a dose of pyroflam to the horses in question which he recorded in his VTR. Cameron relocated and left SA and the employ of Baker & McVeigh the following day.”

Mr Marshall continues that a few days later, NHA vet Dr. Matthew Bawden arrived at his yard and requested to take 10 out-of-competition tests.

“It was only when chief stipe Ernie Rodrigues turned up with an AOG for R30k that I first became aware of the 2 treatments. I duly contacted my vets B&M, obtained their VTR and Ernie then scanned copies to the NHA on 5 November 2023 and duly handed Arnold Hyde a hard copy on 11 November. The Cape Chief Stipe was completely satisfied that I had not contravened any NHA Rules. I need to point out that pyroflam/flunixin/finadyne is one and the same, and the most commonly utilized non-steroidal anti-inflammatory utilized on a daily basis by every training establishment. It is like you and me taking a panado,” he adds.

One would think that this should have been the end of the matter but the veteran trainer says that literally months later, Ernie Rodrigues was instructed by Hyde to now offer him a discounted R15 000 AOG to sign.

“Again, I refused. Ernie kindly offered to testify at the Inquiry on my behalf. I decided to lawyer up to protect my good name and integrity. I duly appointed attorney Mike Marshall (no relation), Adv Nigel Riley, and of course Robert Bloomberg was always behind the scenes and also attended the Inquiry.”

Marshall tells the Sporting Post that the Inquiry itself was ‘an embarrassment for the NHA’.

“After their only witness Dr. Bawden had admitted under cross-examination that the vets VTR was accessible at all times, that the treatments were accurately and legibly recorded in a treatment register, and that I had not contravened Rule 10.5.14, we closed our case without calling any of our 3 witnesses. The chairman of the Inquiry Board, Mr Andre Vlok was fantastic and was visibly irritated from the get-go with the NHA prosecutor. When Mr Wafer was asked by Mr Vlok why we were actually here and about the wasted costs associated with this, he unbelievably replied that if I had signed the AOG that this wouldn’t have happened. I can’t tell you the stress that this unnecessary victimization by the NHA has caused me. My sincere thanks go out to my incredible legal team,” concluded the emotional multiple Gr1 winning conditioner.

When asked for comment on what had transpired, Attorney Robert Bloomberg responded that, whilst he took a decision months ago to focus his attentions on assisting Cape Racing in various matters, and not to represent stakeholders at Inquiries and Appeals, he was always willing to try and assist his friends, especially where he believe that there had been a travesty of justice.

“In regard to Vaughan’s matter, I furnished Vee Moodley and Arnold Hyde with an objective factually based Legal Opinion in an endeavour to save unnecessary costs wherein I stated unequivocally that Vaughan had no case to answer politely stating inter alia that this matter was “not justifiable in pursuing.” I also informed them that the chief witness for Vaughan Marshall was the chief stipendiary steward in the Western Cape, Ernie Rodrigues, who would be testifying against his own employer and that surely this set off alarm bells,” tells Bloomberg.

Robert Bloomberg – ‘a travesty of justice’ (Pic – Supplied)

The well-known racing attorney adds that Mr Moodley ‘arrogantly responded’ stating that they had not asked for my opinion and further said that “there is absolutely no way we shall NOT proceed with the Inquiry based on the fact that our chief stipendiary steward is a witness and the cost implications that you mention” and further stated that “this matter is NOW closed.”

A puzzled and bemused Bloomberg says that he subsequently told Hyde when he called him in an unrelated matter that the NHA had ‘zero chance’ in succeeding, and that he was of the categorical opinion that it was foolhardy in the extreme to proceed.

“He undertook to speak with Mr Moodley. I never heard from him again and exactly one week later a letter of set down for the hearing was sent to Vaughan Marshall by one Shane Wafer, bizarrely penned on an NHA letterhead and pronouncing that he was the new NHA Prosecuting Attorney.”

Bloomberg says that to the best of his knowledge, Wafer is not a full-time employee of the NHA.

“It was the disrespect shown to me by the NHA and the request from Adv Riley that I assist him at the Inquiry in the capacity of racing technical advisor, and of course my extreme desire to give them a ‘snotklap’, that I agreed to same. When one’s opinion accords with that of the CEO and RCE then your opinion is appreciated, but when it deviates from their own myopic and severely tainted viewpoint, then bully-boy tactics prevail. The mission statement of the NHA is ‘maintaining the integrity of the sport of horseracing’ but where was the integrity in prosecuting a vindictive, vexatious, meritless and spurious case against an obviously totally innocent party?” asks Bloomberg.

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

From Chaos To Reform

Charl Pretorius writes in his Off The Record column on the 4Racing website that owners, trainers and racing fans are gravely concerned about the state of our industry

Read More »