Yvette Bremner, whose stable was involved in last Thursday’s riots at Fairview racecourse, has quit Eastern Cape racing. She has decided that enough is enough and is likely to move to another province.                          

Bremner’s decision to shut the stable doors on her operation demonstrates the curved balls life can throw at people. In an interview in 2017, the bubbly lady, born in Vryburg in North West province, declared: “I am not going anywhere. Port Elizabeth is a great place to live and work. I have wonderful people and good horses around me. What more could anyone wish for?”

Bremner’s leading owner, Hedley McGrath, has been quick to put the media in the picture regarding the violent protests. He said: “When exactly is enough is enough and where does one draw that line in the sand? Maybe that was Thursday, September 17 2020. It’s an emotional time for all of us and I thank my co-owners who have stood by us.”

After the protests, McGrath issued a media release aimed at putting owners in other stables at Fairview fully in the picture. It stated: “I would like the owners of all of the racehorses stabled at Fairview with various trainers to know that it was not just Yvette Bremner’s grooms who took part in the riots this morning. It was also the grooms from the other yards who were part of the attacking and rioting.

I would like the owners of all of the racehorses stabled at Fairview with various trainers to know that it was not just Yvette Bremner’s grooms who took part in the riots this morning
Hedley McGrath

“The same grooms who are employed to look after their horses were part of this riot. They need to ask themselves how safe are their horses really? This morning was one of the most barbaric savage attacks I have seen and I pray to God we never see [this sort of thing] again.”

The incident was reported worldwide with the UK’s racing newspaper, the Racing Post, headlining their story “Violent protest ends in tragedy at Fairview as loose horse suffers fatal injury”. 

Bremner, who has saddled 799 winners with her most recent being Tiger Star at Fairview on September 11, had an excellent grounding in the sport, spending eight years with legendary Port Elizabeth trainer Stanley Greeff.

She sent out her first runner, Rubies And Gold, in April 2008 and just a month later had her first success when Magic Amigo won at Arlington.

However, it was her raids on highveld racing that really made racing enthusiasts sit up and take notice of the female trainer. In 2014 Copper Parade provided Bremner with her first grade 1 winner when taking the Computaform Sprint. Her most recent successful raider was National Park, who also made the long journey to Turffontein to capture the 2019 Gauteng Guineas.

In an interview, Bremner was asked if being female had presented problems in her career. She replied: “I am no women’s libber, but must say it was a lot tougher when I started out. I am not sure whether general mindsets in the new SA have evolved in terms of equality of the sexes, or whether training winners and running a successful business gives one credibility. I would like to believe it is the latter.”

Bremner’s strength of character seems certain to see her overcome last week’s horrific events. She is likely to follow the advice of US actress Mae West, who said: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”


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