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S’Manga Khumalo has been at the centre of two controversies in the last two Highveld meetings. There is an inquiry into an incident on Saturday in which the horse Back In Business bolted with him aboard before being withdrawn by the veterinarian surgeon. The inquiry followed an official complaint by the connections. Today Khumalo was standing out of the saddle when the starter let the field go for the first race. Unconfirmed reports had it that he was given time to get in the saddle after saying he was not ready and he gave no subsequent command to wait. (Picture: Gold Circle) 

There was widespread astonishment when She’s A Klawer was not declared a non-runner after the running of the first race at the Vaal Classic track today (Thursday) as she jumped without the rider, S’Manga Khumalo, in the irons.

However, the stipendiary stewards might just have been applying the rules.

Nevertheless, the Tote operators as well as Hollywoodbets and some other bookmakers sided with affected punters, who clearly did not get a run for their money.
Khumalo was standing on the side partitions ready to get in to the saddle, although he appears to have been standing slightly further back than the saddle, when the start was affected. He was left standing there and the horse jumped riderless.
Unconfirmed information provided a picture of what had happened. The horse was loaded early due to being troublesome. Later the jockey had shouted he was not ready. Time was thus given for the horse to settle. However, a later call to wait apparently did not come from the jockey and the starter, having allowed enough time, decided to let the field go.
The stipendiary steward report on the incident states:
A race review was called into the start of this Race where it was established that SHE’S A KLAWER (S Khumalo), in stall gate 5, had jumped riderless. The Stipendiary Board was of the opinion that the Handler allocated to this filly had not impeded her, that the starting stalls were released on time and therefore declared SHE’S A KLAWER to be a runner. In arriving at this decision, the Stewards also considered if there was any valid reason as to why Jockey Khumalo was not mounted as he appeared to be under Starter’s orders. In the prima facie evidence which was considered, there was no compelling reason for Jockey Khumalo not being prepared for the start and having his feet in the irons as is standard and accepted practice.  Following both the Starters’ and Jockey S Khumalo being interviewed and having their evidence placed on record, the Board has adjourned to give this matter further consideration.  
The incident might have similarities to an occurrence in which Diego de Gouveia received a seven day suspension for failing to take all reasonable measures to ensure that he was sufficiently prepared for the start whilst in the stalls and under Starter’s orders. (Rule 62.2.2)
Tabgold sent out the following press release following the outcry about the incident:
Gold Circle has taken the decision to refund punters who placed any bets with TabGold on She’s A Klawer (Number 4) in the first race at the Vaal earlier today after the starting stalls opened without S’manga Khumalo aboard, even though the filly was declared a runner.
All punters who included the No. 4 in their bets (all bets) can request a refund from TabGold branches where they placed their bets and those clients who took bets on their account will be credited automatically. Refund calculations will be based on No. 4 being a non-runner.
Any queries can be referred to the TabGold Customer Service on (031) 314 1874 or emailed to
Tab4Racing’s press release stated:

TAB4Racing is refunding all Win, Place, Swinger, Exacta, Trifecta and Quartet bets on Number 4 She’s A Klawer in Race 1 at the Vaal today in which she was included.

Jockey S’manga Khumalo, who was carded to ride She’s A Klawer, was not in the saddle when the start was effected. The National Horseracing Authority stipendiary stewards declared She’s A Klawer a runner, but in light of the circumstances TAB4Racing is refunding Win and Place bets on the filly, as well as the relevant portions of Exacta, Swinger, Trifecta and Quartet wagers in which she was included.

TAB4Racing accountholders will be automatically refunded. Retail customers wishing to claim refunds must submit a claim form at a TAB outlet if they have discarded their tickets.

Customers needing assistance can call Customer Care on 0861 444 822.

Meanwhile, Hollywoodbets decided to scratch the horse and at the same time have no deduction on the winner, meaning losing punters were refunded while those who had benefited from the official stipendiary decision, by being paid out without any deductions, were not affected.

Other bookmakers reportedly did the same.
Hollywoodbets sent out the following press release:

Hollywoodbets has made a decision to treat She’s A Klawer as a scratching from race 1 at the Vaal today, after the Chris Jonker filly had literally no chance of competing with her jockey out of the saddle and a handler holding her bridle as the gates were sprung.

Something of a fractious filly at the stalls, her rider S’manga Khumalo was slightly to the rear and out of the saddle with both of his legs on the sides of the gates, while the handler was holding on to her as the starter made the call-down to the release of the gates.
Unconfirmed information has indicated that Khumalo did not shout a final ‘wait’, and the starter apparently decided to let the field go. The Stipes reports will provide all the information.
She’s A Klawer’s backers effectively never had a run for their money, but she was nevertheless declared to be under starter’s orders by the Stipendiary Stewards.

A spokesman for Hollywoodbets said that they felt that it was only fair and sporting to treat the filly as a non-runner without deductions, thereby ensuring a full refund for all of their customers who wagered wins, multiples, places, and other open bets.  Notwithstanding the starting price of the horse at 5/1, which would have resulted in a 20% deduction on a normal scratching , the scratching with no deduction was done so as to not prejudice any other winners.