Horse racing authority seeks clarity from Jooste firm
The National Horseracing Authority — formerly the Jockey Club of SA — has entered the Markus Jooste saga, requesting "clarity" from his horse racing company, Mayfair Speculators.
A statement from CEO Lyndon Barends makes it clear the authority will not sit idly by with the Steinhoff affair creating headlines here and overseas.
"Given the media speculation surrounding Mr Jooste and his resignation as the CEO of Steinhoff International Holdings, the National Horseracing Authority has requested clarity and information from Mayfair Speculators, a company dealing with his horse racing interests," he said in the statement.
On the racetracks, it has been business as usual with Jooste-owned horses winning two races at Kenilworth on Saturday, including the R400,000 Southern Cross Stakes with last season’s Equus champion three-year-old filly Just Sensual.
The daughter of Dynasty — as well as maiden winner Doyles — was ridden to victory by Anton Marcus, who is contracted to ride Jooste’s horses. Both winners were trained by Joey Ramsden and the winning trophy was accepted by him at the prize-giving. Derek Brugman — usually on course for any Jooste-owned big-race winner — was not at Kenilworth.
The Cape racing season is in full swing and if book makers have got their sums right Jooste-owned horses Legal Eagle and Edict Of Nantes are set to dominate the R5m Sun Met to be run at Kenilworth on January 27. The two are quoted as the joint 3-1 favourites in ante-post betting.
This is the race the Public Servants Association has called for a boycott of if Jooste-owned horses compete. It has written to race sponsor Sun International, requesting it to "consider the unfolding events and reconsider its involvement in the race".
There are no Mayfair Speculators horses in action at the Vaal on Thursday, when a marathon 11-race card awaits punters.
The trainer to follow is Johan Janse van Vuuren, who could land a double with Humble Addict (third race) and Penny Royal in the Pick 6 first leg.
Penny Royal, a daughter of the ill-fated stallion Captain Al, looks the pick of the duo as there was lots to like about her two lengths’ maiden win at the Vaal in November. Donavan Mansour will again be in the saddle on the three-year-old.
Fly North, a daughter of another deceased sire Fly North, will have her supporters in this 1,200m sprint as Barend Botes’s filly is bidding for her third success in her last four outings.
Mansour rides Humble Addict in the third race and this Aussie import made a pleasing debut at Turffontein in October, when finishing second to Emerald Jaguar. The gelding may have most to fear from Craig Zackey’s mount Bella Ciao.
Another Van Vuuren import, Dreamsaremadeof, has to be given a solid each-way chance in the second race, although it is surely significant that Mansour has been booked for the stable’s first-timer Believe Me.
This Silvano filly — bred at Maine Chance Farms — cost R140,000 as a yearling and the jockey arrangements — with Hennie Greyling riding Dreamsaremadeof — suggests that the three-year-old has impressed in home gallops.
Whether Believe Me has the necessary speed to match strides with Steve Moffatt’s runner Tumbling Stream remains to be seen. This gelding is overdue to leave the maiden ranks having been placed in each of his last four starts.
With so many races scheduled for the Free State track, it is a surprise champion jockey Anthony Delpech has one booked ride at the meeting. He is carded to partner Mike de Kock’s three-year-old Zargun in the 10th race. This is the handicap debut for Zargun, who opened her account at Turffontein in November and her rivals include Monarch Air, who is bidding to complete a hat-trick. The five-year-old mare will have to overcome a wide draw, whereas De Kock’s filly has a perfect barrier position.