Skip to main content

Greg Bortz spoke out boldy about doping, which he said “is happening”, during his riveting speech at the Cape Racing and Cape Breeders Awards. He was attacked on social media in two instances for this claim but did not waste time responding to the allegations (Picture: Troy Finch)

Hi everyone

I am not often on the ABC site. I was alerted to a post from someone named “South Boytjie” making a number of allegations.
I will go out on a limb and assume Mr South Boytjie is from the south of Johannesburg . Separately, I was sent a copy of a WhatsApp message doing the rounds (I do not know who wrote it) with other allegations. I would like to address every allegation and accusation made against me.
Before getting on to the specific allegations and accusations, I want to point out that I am DELIGHTED that my speech has had the desired effect. Namely, no longer are we talking about doping and cheating in our sport in hushed tones. I wanted this absolutely critical topic brought to the surface. To have a light shone brightly. And to force people to take a stand, one way or another.
I stand for the integrity of our sport and the wellbeing of our horses. That’s it. But somehow, I have been accused of unfairly targeting certain trainers. So let’s jump into it, and break down every allegation.
I will start off with the ABC post of Mr South Boytjie, and will then get onto the anonymous WhatsApp message.
South Boytjie stated in his post: “Why is it not seen as inhumane for you, your trainer and your Vet to perform the identical procedure as Mr Peter did? Why do you have this ruthless, relentless persecution and victimization of a young and gifted horseman? The emotional and reputational damage you have inflicted on this poor kid and his future is irreparable! I say “Shame on you!!” and shame on the over-rated trainer who is behind this nefarious process! Go ahead… connect the dots.”
There is a lot to unpack in that rant of Mr South Boytjie, and many dots to connect but let me try. But before doing that, let me say, Mr South Boytjie – why do you play a game of connecting dots? Why don’t you speak directly, forthrightly, and clearly? Why do you want people to connect the dots – just state what you think. It’s called courage. You should try it sometime. And not hiding behind a pseudonym. State your name. But I digress. On to  your statements:
I never mentioned one trainer by name. Watch my speech again.
Not one trainer or vet was named. I never referenced Tony Peter. So I am not sure how I am targeting any particular trainer. It is interesting how you made the automatic leap to Tony Peter – I never said anything of the sort.
That said, on Facebook the day or two after my speech, two people (a gentleman named Anthoney Zackey and a gentleman named Derek Nassif) made comments to a Sporting Post posting that went something like this: “Which trainers?????? Which Vets???????”. Implying that I was alleging doping/cheating without naming the trainers and vets. They are correct – I did not name anyone.
I responded to both of these gentlemen on Facebook by copying and pasting from published NHA press releases in which the NHA disclosed that the trainer of horse MOVER AND SHAKER (Fabian Habib) signed an Admission of Guilt for an incident in February 2023 in which the PROHIBITED SUBSTANCE MEPHENTERMINE was used. He was fined R125,000. That is pretty clear to me – an admission of guilt is an admission of guilt! The man admitted to being guilty of using a prohibited substance.
I then quoted the same NHA press release that stated: “This matter has raised certain integrity-related concerns and thus, changes to the pre-saddling procedures will be communicated by the Racing Control Executive after consultation with the necessary parties has taken place. All Trainers and material stakeholders are advised to treat this warning as a SERIOUS ISSUE and to refrain from this type of practice, as the consequences could be substantial.”
I then referenced another press release by the NHA published on August 4th, 2023. The NHA found the presence of FOUR prohibited substances in two Tony Peter horses – Axel Collins and Youre My Sunshine. Furthermore, according to the press release: “One (1) substance was not recorded in the Trainer’s Veterinary Treatment Register (VTR). An Inquiry will be opened into the one (1) substance that was NOT recorded for each of the respective two horses.”
Mr South Boytjie, take a moment and let this sink in. The NHA has found four prohibited substances in two horses of Mr Peter. Finding one prohibited substance is bad enough, but four? I have never seen this before in my life. Have you? If Mr Peter made a mistake by inadvertently administering one prohibited substance, I can possibly understand. But how do you inadvertently administer four such substances? And for what purpose? I wish Mr Peter would clarify.
I fully accept that Mr Peter will undoubtedly, and quite appropriately, take the necessary steps to clear his name and challenge these findings. And we must wait for the matter to be finally concluded. And perhaps that is why Mr Peter has been silent on these findings. And I respect his right to silence. But as it stands here today, our sport’s independent regulator, the NHA, stated publicly that two of Mr Peter’s horses were found positive with four prohibited substances. Forgive my outrage, but for goodness sake – where is yours and everyone else’s? These two horses allegedly were given four prohibited substances. Why? For what purpose?  No matter your relationship or friendship with Mr Peter, surely you are as disappointed and as concerned as me with these findings by the NHA? We all should be. I look forward to the ultimate conclusion of this matter.
The same NHA press release goes on to state:
“The investigation thus far has raised a host of serious concerns in relation to horse welfare, including the liberal and regimented use of medications and/or treatments administered to horses during the days preceding racing and the accuracy of the recordal of such treatment in the relevant VTR. It appears that this practice has become widespread and therefore not limited to an individual Veterinarian or Trainer. The NHA advocates a fair and level playing field for all horses and, most importantly, for only fit and healthy horses to participate in races. The initial findings of this investigation have raised a myriad of alarming concerns and the NHA is in the process of conducting further investigations into practices, methodologies, mitigatory procedures, as well as considering possible amendments to the Rules, in order to eliminate such practices that some stakeholders wrongly believe to be acceptable and humane! ”
The bottom line, Mr South Boytjie, is that my entire speech was based on the alarming events identified and reported publicly by the NHA.  I did not target Mr Peter or any other trainer. In fact, the NHA makes it clear in their release “that this practice has become widespread and therefore not limited to an individual Veterinarian or Trainer.” I commented in my speech that cheating/doping is unacceptable, and there should be zero tolerance for such actions. I stand by it. And I reiterate these comments. My words are intended for all trainers and vets engaged in any conduct of this nature. Our regulator literally flagged and stated that these issues are not in the best interest of horse welfare and raise serious integrity issues. It is spelled out in their releases. I would recommend you (and everyone else) go on the NHA website and read the press releases because I am rapidly concluding that many of the readers have not seen these releases. I deal with facts, not hyperbole. The facts are laid out in the NHA press releases.
STATEMENT 2:  “Why is it not seen as inhumane for you, your trainer and your Vet to perform the identical procedure as Mr Peter did?”
Your “connect the dots” insinuations in this regard were a little harder to piece together, as you were vague. So let me take a stab.
I only have horses in Johannesburg with Lucky Houdalakis. And Lucky Houdalakis and Tony Peter use the same vet. And I suspect you are insinuating that this vet performed the same procedures on my horses at Lucky Houdalakis as he did at Tony Peter? I beg to differ.
First, intra-articular treatment is used on almost all horses by most vets. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is not an outlawed practice. The issue is the administering of prohibited substances during routine intra-articular treatments and/or not recording administered substances in the VTR. As part of routine NHA investigations, the NHA routinely visits all trainers, including Mr Houdalakis. The NHA gave the Houdalakis stable (and their VTR) a clean bill of health. There are zero positives there. And zero inconsistencies or inaccuracies in their VTR. The difference between this and Mr Peter’s situation is substantial. The NHA has alleged four positives at Mr Peter, as well as alleged a failure to record all substances in the VTR. Nothing of the sort has occurred at Mr Houdalakis. So, your allegation falls ridiculously flat. Finally, not only have I reviewed my vet bills, I have also shared them voluntarily with the NHA. This assisted them in doing a thorough inspection of the Houdalakis VTR, and all was in order. So not only is there no fire, there is not even smoke!
Finally, to clear up the misconception promoted by your accusation – I am not against intra-articular treatments. No one is.  The issue is the potential for administering unrecorded and/or prohibited substances intra-articularly, as well as the use of intra-articular treatments so close to a race day.  The new NHA rule now prevents these treatments within a week of race day.
STATEMENT 3: “Shame on you!!” and shame on the over-rated trainer who is behind this nefarious process! Go ahead… connect the dots.”
This one is easy to refute. For the rest of the readers, I am going to presume that you are implying that Justin Snaith is the “overrated trainer behind this nefarious process.” I am concluding that you are implying that it is Justin because approximately 80% of my horses are with the Snaith yard.
Mr South Boytjie, no one is behind anything I do. Ever. I am my own man. A man of courage and conviction, who is not afraid to take a stand. I do what I believe is right. I cannot be bought. I cannot be coerced. So, neither Justin Snaith nor anyone else has anything to do with any moral, financial, or legal position I take. Nor could Justin Snaith or anyone else influence my opinions. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows this about me. These petty accusations of yours only serve to undermine whatever shred of credibility you may have had.
I am calling out all cheaters, saying there is no room for cheating in our sport. The end. Justin Snaith does just fine without me – he neither needs nor wants my assistance in winning a championship, as he has so clearly demonstrated!
STATEMENT 4: [“You publicly and proudly stated that “as one of the racing operators, we get to fund the NHA” … “as a result of that I get to see the NHA budget and I get to see where money is spent and I get the opportunity to ask certain questions”]. Now, I propose, why don’t you make public the Veterinarian Treatment Register of your trainers and Mr Peter should make his available. Since you insinuate that you have a say in the NHA then make this happen and walk the talk!!!”
I really don’t even understand what you are getting at here. Off the top of my head, my horses are with Snaith, Kannemeyer, Steyn, Woodruff, Houdalakis, Crawford, Botha, Kruyer, Reeves and possibly one or two more I am forgetting. Whose VTRs are you referring to? I would be delighted for you to look at all of them!
To be clear, I have never seen a VTR in my life, and I have no clue what they look like. But I am fairly certain that every one of the trainers mentioned above has had their VTR reviewed by the NHA, just as Mr Peter has been subjected to. And I have absolutely zero clue what goes on at any one of my trainers. I am seldom at their yards. I have no involvement with my horses. Like everyone else, I rely on our regulator, the NHA, to ensure the integrity of our sport, and I rely on my trainers to look after my horses and train them well. I have no authority to turn over their VTRs to you, but I have zero issue with them being inspected at all!
But in your alarmist rhetoric, you make two glaring errors.
First, the issues are not what is recorded in the VTR but what is NOT recorded in the VTR. As stated in the NHA press release pertaining to Mr Peter’s horses: “One (1) substance was not recorded in the Trainer’s Veterinary Treatment Register (VTR). An Inquiry will be opened into the one (1) substance that was NOT recorded for each of the respective two horses.” How does looking at a VTR help when substances are NOT recorded?
Second, you state in your accusation that: “You publicly and proudly stated that “as one of the racing operators, we get to fund the NHA.” There is nothing “proud” about that statement. It is factually accurate, and we as operators are required to do so.
This year the NHA presented the Operators (all three operators) with a budget of R85MM. Of this, the operators were required to fund R73MM. Given the enormity of the numbers, I immediately contacted the NHA requesting a meeting to walk through their budget line by line. All three operators (4Racing, Gold Circle and Cape Racing) were invited to attend. I am the only one that attended. I am the only one that wanted to dive into the details. And why is that? Because a meaningful portion of Cape Racing’s share of the R73MM comes out of my own pocket! The representatives of the other operators are salaried employees. It is not their money. They do not have any skin in the game. My commitment to being on top of every single item in our sport is driven because I am personally funding a massive chunk of it!
In my meeting with the NHA (their finance team and Mr Moodley) I questioned a large capital expenditure line item in the budget of R6.9MM, I believe it was. I wanted to know what it was and why it was necessary. The answer was that the level of complexity behind the testing for prohibited substances had increased exponentially. The NHA, which is committed to stamping out illegal substances and cheating, felt they needed more sophisticated equipment to catch the transgressors. I immediately approved it. We then looked at the massive spike in the budget associated with testing. The NHA explained how the administering of prohibited substances was evolving (methods of administering, timing of administering, nature of the substances, etc.) and a more rigorous and extensive testing protocol was needed. I immediately approved it.
Mr South Boytjie, if you were funding a third of R73MM personally, would you have been on the call? Would you have asked questions? And if you realised that the entire sport (and hence all the money and time you had invested) is at risk of being eviscerated because of integrity issues, would you take a stand to clean it up? I can’t speak for you, but I most certainly would, and most certainly am!
STATEMENT 5: I also find it unethical and perplexed that a horse owner, such as yourself, can have a say in the NHA. What happened to the NHA being an impartial and independent regulatory body?
I do not have a say in the NHA. I have no knowledge or involvement in any decisions made by the NHA. The NHA is run by its executive team, which reports to the NHA board. The NHA board consists of horse owners, horse breeders and other elected members from both within and outside of the racing fraternity.
The only place I have involvement is in the budget and the funding thereof. It is partly my money, after all!
As it relates to being an owner, I do not see the relevance. One of the biggest owners in the country is Mauritzfontein and Wilgebosdrift. These entities are owned (indirectly or directly) by Mary Slack. Mary (indirectly or directly, via MOD) owns 4Racing. 4Racing partly funds the NHA budget. Therefore, Mary Slack, an owner, has the same level of involvement as I do in the NHA.
Personally, I would much prefer that I had zero involvement in part funding the NHA, and others funded it for me! But that is not the case. I have to pay my share of the NHA budget, whether I like it or not. And I am not passive – if I invest money, I take an interest in every detail.
The NHA is a completely impartial, independent regulatory body. It is a false narrative to imply that anyone has control or influence over the NHA. I most certainly do not. And I am not aware of anyone who does!
STATEMENT 6: In your “speech of fame” you talk about integrity and transparency…..I agree that there should be an absolutely zero tolerance to fraud and criminal acts being part of the horse racing industry. I declare a unilateral war on fraudsters having any association with the NHA. How can an industry be trusted in the hands of an individual who so arrogantly brags that they frauded their way into the USA.
Mr South Boytjie, how much more transparency can I give than sharing my full, honest life story? I put it all out there in the public domain. You heard my podcast a year ago, but now think you have some smoking gun? If you thought I was a fraud then, why did you not open your mouth then? You are clearly grasping at straws. I encourage everyone to listen to the very same podcast you referred to. If you think that makes me a fraudster, I will not try and persuade you otherwise! I sleep very well at night.
STATEMENT 1: .How can an Owner be so powerful that he can direct the NHRA to investigate a yard that he feels is cheating and is constantly showing up his personal trainers ability…That is abuse of power and he and the NHRA are acting together to bring the industry into disrepute..
This is just a false statement. I have never directed the NHA to do anything! I am not aware of their investigations. I am not aware of anything they do. I am not informed of anything. I read the same press releases you do! The only thing I can access is the NHA budget, and I get to question how MY money is being spent!
This is a false, defamatory statement.
STATEMENT 2: “How can an owner decide to bar a trainer who is in competition to him and his stable from running in the Cape?…Where in the rules on the NHRA is an operation allowed to stop trainers from racing in its jurisdiction?”
So many things to unpack here. I am the part owner of the racing operator in the Cape. All statements I have made are in my capacity as the Chairman of the racing operator. The fact I am an owner is irrelevant. I do not bet, and I pay the stakes! The fact I am an owner is not even relevant here, but I can’t stop people like you from making that leap, so go right ahead.
As a racing operator and a funder of the sport, I am concerned about integrity. I am absolutely committed to ensuring that the sport taking place at our racetracks will be conducted in a fair, honest fashion.
There are zero restrictions on any trainers from racing on our race tracks. But I most certainly intend to impose whatever racing operator conditions I legally can that ensures the integrity of our sport. No changes or conditions have been imposed as of yet, but I am looking at all available legal options to do our bit to assist in cleaning up the sport. . I would never do anything in contravention of the NHA rules.
I work closely with the NHA in this regard. For example, the NHA asked all operators to put cameras in the saddling areas and boxes. I said absolutely, despite the large cost, and this work is now almost complete. The same request was made of the other operators – none have done it! I am about the good of the sport, and anything I do is under the oversight and auspices of the NHA.
STATEMENT 3: “He makes a claim that trainers(Peter) are giving injections within 7 days of running.”
Where did I ever make a claim referencing any individual trainer? It is YOU that mentioned Mr Peter, not me! Why is it that all of you are immediately defaulting to Mr Peter? In the NHA’s own words, “this practice has become widespread and therefore not limited to an individual Veterinarian or Trainer.” Yet everyone seems to be leaping to the assumption that this relates to Mr Peter. Why is that? I never said anything of the sort. I am reacting to the NHA’s public statements as to this widespread concerning practice.
Regarding the practice of intra-articular treatment less than seven days before a race, the NHA has flagged this as an issue. The rules permitted this. So the NHA has now changed the rule. End of story. See the press release.
STATEMENT 4: How can a private owner accuse a trainer of doping in public when no rules were breached and new rules were created after  these two parties collaborated to stop a LEGAL training method because it was showing up Snaith
Once again, let me correct your statements. I am a part owner in, and the Chairman of, one of the racing operators. Every statement I make is based on my position in that regard, not in my capacity as an owner.
Second, you have made another false, defamatory statement, alleging some collusion with Justin Snaith. I consult with no one when I take my positions. To repeat what I stated previously, neither Justin Snaith nor anyone else has anything to do with any moral, financial, or legal position I take. Nor could Justin Snaith or anyone else influence my opinions.
Third, I never accused any trainer of doping. Who did I accuse? Show me. I referenced cheating and doping as being a massive issue. The source of my data is the recent press releases of the NHA.
You make reference to “stop[ping] a legal training method because it was showing up Snaith.” Two obvious comments in response:
Not once did I mention the name Tony Peter anywhere. Not once. Yet you and Mr South Boytjie (you sound like the same person to me….) have lept to Mr Peter’s defence, even though he was accused of nothing by me! My entire speech was based on the public disclosures and opinions of the NHA.
But getting back to the “LEGAL training method” you referenced – how does the NHA finding the presence of FOUR prohibited substances in two Tony Peter horses – Axel Collins and Youre My Sunshine – equate to legal training methods? Once again, you are leaping to the defence of someone who was not accused by me of anything, which makes me wonder why. So I reference again the findings of the independent regulator, the NHA. I truly hope that these four positive findings are an anomaly and can and will be explained by the yard.
STATEMENT 5: another point to consider is the obvious breach of 72.1.26 behave or conduct himself in such a manner which has or might have the effect of discrediting horse racing or which does or might bring into disrepute the good name of the NATIONAL HORSERACING AUTHORITY
This is your best one yet. I am literally defending the NHA. I am assisting the NHA. I am supporting the NHA. I applaud the NHA and the constant efforts they are making on the matter of integrity. I confidently state that I am the most PRO NHA operator by a military mile. 4Racing has sought to remove the NHA. Just ask them!
If the NHA believes I have brought the good name of the NHA into disrepute, I am sure they will call for a hearing or inquiry. Alternatively, if YOU believe I have done so, please lodge a formal complaint with the NHA. They will then be compelled to call for a hearing. I look forward to meeting you in that hearing while the facts are debated.
STATEMENT 6: BORTZ makes a public statement saying the number one problem with Racing is doping…He provides no proof of this …if a normal owner or any other person falling under the rules of the NHRA said this they would be charged by the NHRA.
What do you mean I provide no proof of this? The NHA themselves have provided the proof of this!
It is there. In black and white. Read it. It is damning.
The use of PROHIBITED SUBSTANCE MEPHENTERMINE is cheating. An admission of guilt was signed by Mr Habib. Furthermore, I suggest that the use of four prohibited substances may be construed as cheating. Cheating is defined as “acting dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.” I respectfully submit using prohibited substances, absent it being an honest mistake, adheres to the very definition of cheating.
STATEMENT 7: No other owner has the ability to get the NHRA to conduct raids on stables.
You are correct – no owner has the ability to get the NHA to conduct raids on stables. NEITHER DO I! I read about these raids/findings in the press releases put out by the NHA. Rather than make these accusations in a private WhatsApp setting, why not make them direct to the NHA if you believe them to be true?
I am sensing you do not understand irony. Allow me to demonstrate irony. The irony is you accuse me of bringing the good name of the NHA into disrepute, and then you go ahead and bring the good name of the NHA into disrepute by stating that an owner directs them to make raids on stables! Please go ahead and make your complaint to the NHA. This hearing will be worth attending – I will insist on it being livestreamed!
STATEMENT 8: Both the NHRA and Bortz have brought racing into disrepute and my hope is that the injured parties take these two transgressors to the Civil court and also the Gambling board as Bortz is using his power to manipulate future race results by threatening to ban trainers from racing in his region
Oh, I see. Now the NHA and I have both brought racing into disrepute. Got it. Which injured parties? And the manipulation of the future race results? This is such an unintelligent, illogical conspiracy theory, that I would rather stay silent and let your foolishness be seen by all who read this. I am happy for the court of public opinion to be the judge on this. And then, when your “injured parties” surface, I am happy for the courts of law to judge further. I cannot lower myself to defend this hypothetical nonsense.
Evidence about doping in the press releases is conveniently ignored and not referenced by you both (although I suspect you are the same person).
I am outraged that Mr South Boytjie, Mr Anonymous WhatsApp Man and their fellow supporters are not outraged by the same things I am – namely the facts and opinions shared by the NHA (the independent regulator) in their releases. It is horrific stuff. I will not be silent. You are trying to defend the indefensible.
What puzzles everyone about me is that I do not have an agenda. I am putting money into racing (hundreds of millions of rands). I am taking no money out. I earn no salary. I have no interest in any bookmaking business whatsoever. I have no commercial or financial involvement with Hollywoodbets or anyone else.  I have no “side business” interests related to horse racing or betting. So I have nothing to gain. I only stand to lose by dealing with these unfounded attacks which absorb my time, energy and impact my personal life. Yet here I am. Standing strong.
This chain of events is standard in history and society. Someone stands up for what is right. And those that it impacts try and bring that person down, by impugning their character. I think you will fail in this case.
And know this -the more you try, the more resilient I become. I stand for integrity in racing, I stand for the horse, and I stand for giving back.
What do you stand for?

Thank you for listening. And if either or both of you (although I think you are one and the same) wish to deal with me face to face, I am happy to meet anytime. My phone number is 082-523 7591. WhatsApp or call me, and we can meet or speak.