Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

A delegation of senior National Horseracing Authority (NHA) management members — including Racing Control executive Arnold Hyde — was dispatched to Port Elizabeth on Thursday after a violent protest by grooms at Fairview racecourse.

Riot police had to be called in after the grooms, said to have been employed by trainer Yvette Bremner, went on the rampage, letting horses out of their boxes. One racehorse, Mark The Doorman, is reported to have been killed during the protest and veterinary surgeons were called in to assist with other injured horses.

Vee Moodley, CEO of the NHA, said: “Mr Hyde has flown to Port Elizabeth and in the afternoon will head up a meeting between several parties which will include trainers, owners, the operators [Phumelela] and the SA Police [Service].”

Earlier Moodley had said: “While Phumelela is responsible for the safety and security of the training centre, we as the NHA also have to consider the same factors in relation to our staff, stakeholders and horses. A decision regarding tomorrow's scheduled Fairview meeting will be made later.”

A statement from Phumelela said: “Public order police had to be called when a protest initiated by grooms formerly employed by Yvette Bremner turned violent. Several horses were let out of their stables and one died. Phumelela is liaising with the department of employment & labour in a bid to resolve the dispute and has also called in additional private security personnel to assist people and horses in the complex.”

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