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Tony Peter’s Gr1-winning Gold Rush favourite Bavarian Beauty (Photo: Candiese Lenferna)

The pending court case between the Tony Peter yard and the NHA has captured the attention of the racing fraternity and this week the former’s Gold Rush favourite Bavarian Beauty has been at the centre of further controversy.

First the filly’s owners Playgate SA released the following statement via the Sporting Post on Monday about Bavarian beauty’s particpation in the Gold Rush,

“We would like to put the record straight that comments regarding allegations of doping, weighing in and scratching at the start etc, are nothing more than completely baseless rumours.

Playgate SA have been in close contact with Cape Racing who have been very obliging, and we have total confidence in the operator and look forward to Bavarian Beauty taking her place with no untoward incidents.”


Then there was an ironic twist on Tuesday when the connections of Bavarian Beauty praised the NHA for alerting them to rule 50.8.

The Peter yard were not happpy with the some aspects of the Minerton short-stay raiding yards and were consequently transporting Bavarian Beauty to a place of alternative accommodation.

Had this been a spelling farm or a stud farm the horse would have had to be immediatley scratched upon arrival.

It was believed to have been a stud farm where she was going to stay.

An extract from a statement made by a spokesman for Playgate SA: “And here is a case where the NHA, if they were indeed as vindictive and malicious as some would believe, could simply have said nothing and then scratched our filly before the race on Saturday, based on a breach of the abovementioned rule.They stepped forward and drew our attention to the matter like gentlemen.” 


However, today horseracing owner and aficionado attorney Robert Bloomberg painted a more detailed picture of what had happened.

He wrote in the Sporting Post mailbag:

Due to the continual unadulterated bilge uttered in certain quarters, and in anticipation of further disingenuous, misleading, inflammatory and self-created rumours devoid of any factual merit, that will undoubtedly flow, I believe it incumbent upon me in a private capacity to place the following on record.

  1. Whilst I undoubtedly wear a Cape Racing hat, I am not aligned to the NHA in any way. It is known by all and sundry that I have been over the years, and continue to be, one of the most outspoken and harshest critics of the NHA, when merited;
  1. As a colour holder we all play under the same rules and regulations and off a level playing field, with no exceptions;
  1. It is common cause that there had been an outbreak of AHS and that a travel ban had been imposed on horses trained out of Randjesfontein;
  1. The Peter stable had advised Cape Racing of their intention to move the “Gold Rush” contender Bavarian Beauty to the care of trainer Gareth Van Zyl and then subsequently went a step further and had asked him if the filly could be transferred into his name. Van Zyl had correctly declined as a further outbreak, which has subsequently occurred, would endanger the participation of his entire stable;
  1. Cape Racing had set aside 5 separate stables for short-stay raiders, this as opposed to permanent visiting yards for the duration of the Cape season. The reason herefore was that a further positive case, or even a fatality, up North would therefore only impact those effectively quarantined horses residing in those separate stables and not the general horse population. A visiting trainer having additional horses travelling to their allocated stables for the duration of the Cape season would run the risk of only their entire operation being shutdown should they elect to go that route;
  2. Henry Mansell of Playgate SA, the owners of Bavarian Beauty, had directly and through his racing manager, Rob Champion, requested their own private security. This was understandably declined for the following reasons:
  • Cape Racing has spent a fortune on third party security for the entire Milnerton training

  • The two best horses in the land See It Again, the 5/10 favourite for the upcoming Met, and Charles Dickens whose permanent home during his entire racing career has been Milnerton, have been stabled there with no additional security required;

  • There is more than sufficient security personnel and cameras everywhere which specifically includes the raider stabling complex;

  • You cannot allow multiple security companies/guards on the same premises for safety, liability and operational reasons;

  • The allowing of private security would not be in the best interests of stakeholders but only in the interests of those engaging their services under whose direction and control they would be acting.

  1. When advised that private security would not be allowed, Mansell apparently responded telephonically in essence stating that as the Peter’s are exceedingly private and highly successful, that they don’t want others copying their training methodologies and as such the cameras were of grave concern to them;
  1. Notwithstanding the aforegoing, trainer Tony Peter was offered a lease to sign at nil rental and eventually responded in writing that “we won’t be needing a stable at the Milnerton training centre. We have found other accommodation, thank you so much for all your help.” Cape Racing was not advised as to what these alternative measures were. At that juncture, Cape Racing’s obligations ended. Peter could have had arrangements with any trainer with private training establishments such as Andre Nel, (Plattner Racing), Glen Kotzen, Mike Stewart or Andries Steyn. Irrespective, this was now outside the jurisdiction of Cape Racing;
  1. It is worth noting that trainers “Lucky” Houdalakis (Dyce – Cape Flying Championship) and Lorenzo Karriem (Tamil Tigress – Gold Rush Sales race), who respectively have short-stay raiders running on Met day, had both accepted the offer of Cape Racing and signed leases;
  1. On the evening of January 22, the owners of Bavarian Beauty issued a media release to allay the preposterous stories doing the arounds and distanced themselves therefrom calling them “completely baseless rumours.” Playgate SA stated therein that “Cape Racing have been very obliging and we have total confidence in the operator.”
  1. I am led to believe that due to the continued outbreaks of AHS up country, and prior to departure to the Western Cape, that the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development issued an emergency travel permit for completion. This completed form bearing the name of trainer Tony Peter clearly stated that Bavarian Beauty would be moving from Turffontein to Milnerton training yard for visiting horses further stating the address of Turf Road off Koeberg Road, Milnerton. As highlighted, trainer Peter had already declined the offer of said stables at Milnerton, in writing to Cape Racing, yet nonetheless wrote on the Department of Agriculture form that the horse would be stabled at Milnerton (even though this was not the intent);
  1. Early on 23 January Bavarian Beauty departed for destination unknown in the Western Cape. The NHA appear to have deduced through a process of obvious elimination that the filly was destined for Hope and Dreams Stud (formerly Arc-en-Ciel Stud). Hours later, the course vet acting on instructions of NHA Management, and at the Vaal racecourse, informed trainer Peter that he had falsified his travel permit by stating that the filly was heading for Milnerton and that he was in breach of Rule 50.8;
  1. It is assumed that all trainers are acquainted with the Rules and Constitution of the NHA. Rule 50.8 is abundantly clear. “No person shall enter or start a horse for or in a race if such horse is or has been,

50.8.1 at a registered spelling farm at any time during a period of 14 days prior to a race or

50.8.2 at an unregistered spelling farm or a stud farm at any time during a period of 30 days prior to a race.” 

The Peter stable and Bavarian Beauty were therefore en-route to disaster.

An arrival at Hope and Dreams would have been an unequivocal breach of the NHA Rules and would have been the end of the road for the connections resulting in her being ineligible to run.

The NHA would have had absolutely no option but to immediately scratch the horse;

  1. Whilst some will correctly state that how can they be expected to know all of the NHA Rules, this specific Rule 50.8 has been around forever and a day. It is there specifically to ensure that licensed training facilities are utilized for the protection of all and to ensure that potentially inappropriate behaviour is prevented from occurring. As a part-owner of a horse in the self-same Sales race, King of the Gauls, I would be decidedly aggrieved if any competitor was allowed to be stabled on a Stud farm for 4 days prior to a race in clear breach of this Rule;
  1. Accordingly, despite what the conspiracy theorists and spreaders of falsehoods have to say, neither the NHA, nor Cape Racing has acted in bad faith here. Accountability rests solely with the Peter stable and Playgate SA. The trouble with the uneducated statements of those that merely shoot from the hip is that “hulle weet nie wat ons weet nie.”
  1. In finality, the question must be posed as to why, when safe and secure boxes armed with security and cameras is offered rent free, and which every other trainer is satisfied with, anyone would have turned this down in the first place and in fact go out of their way to find alternative measures to avoid this. It simply boggles the mind.

The irony of the entire saga is that Bavarian Beauty has ended up at the very facility the Peter yard had endeavoured to move heaven and earth to avoid and the saviours of their actions was the board and management of the exact entity they have sought to abuse, ridicule and attempted to overthrow.