The biggest talking point at Scottsville yesterday was not so much the racing but trainer Paul Gadsby’s R40k fine imposed on Tuesday by the National Horseracing Authority after one of his grooms was caught on the on-course television camera kicking his charge in the stomach in the washing bay at Greyville some months back.
Gadsby was spitting mad at the Ashburton training centre yesterday. “I wasn’t even on track at the time,” he said. “So how can I have control over a situation like that.”
The groom was subsequently disciplined and Gadsby assumed that that was the end of the matter.
There is, however, a NHA rule that states that a trainer is responsible for the behaviour of his staff, but trainers throughout the country, responding on WhatsApp, described the fine as lunacy, threatening drastic action.
Whether anything comes of their threats remains to be seen.
The meeting got off to a rough start with an objection lodged by Anton Marcus aboard the favourite Valcar against first-placed Flamboyant under apprentice Ashton Arries. The two came together at about the 200m mark with Flamboyant shifting onto Valcar then then following Valcar as the pair continued to shift in together without making contact.
Marcus was forced to object as with only three stipendiary stewards on duty, an objection by one of the stipendiary board would have left only two to deliberate the objection when the rule requires three.
After a lengthy deliberation, the objection was upheld.
Owner Rick Nidd is a great fan of the stallion Ashaawes and he was repaid handsomely when Barinois obliged in the Track & Ball Gaming Maiden at only her second start. Owned in partnership with trainer Duncan Howells, Keagan de Melo rode a copybook race and his mount came through to win smoothly.
The stable was not so lucky next up as favourite Seattle Spell failed to fire with Ian Sturgeon extricating the well supported Just Positive from a tight situation to get up late to deny Angel Landing for Des Egdes. Just Positive raced in the silks of the late Andre van Vuuren who was a staunch supporter of the yard along with Mike Clutterbuck.
The Howells-trained Roman Emperor finally got his act together in the Itsarush.co.za Middle Stakes but it was a close-run thing. The gelding is not an easy ride but De Melo pinched an early lead and kept his mount hard to his task to hold a fast-finishing favourite Cape Fling, jockey Anthony Delpech having to endure some flavourful vitriol from a few of the favourite’s supporters around the second box.
But Dean Kannemeyer and Delpech had better luck on the rest of the card with Speed Of Africa and Orelia rounding off a successful afternoon for the yard.
G3 - Mooresbridge
G3 - Athasi
G3 - The Longines Sagaro Stakes (class 1)
G3 - The Meriebelle Stable Pavilion Stakes (class 1)
Listed - Dahlia Plate