Vaal Mixed Identity – Transporter Sets Record Straight

A representative from a leading racehorse transport company defended his industry after an article published last week suggested that the confusion over the wrong horse arriving in Vaal on July 6 was due to the movement of two fillies – one from Philippi and the other from Fairview to Turffontein.

“People make mistakes, nobody is perfect. Be humble and admit to mistakes rather than learn from them,” Karen Choice suggests after responding to an article titled “Confused Identity – Transporter Mixed Horses” which was published in the Sporting Post on Wednesday, July 12, 2023.

According to the evidence in an inquest held at the Vaal on Thursday, July 6, at which trainer Tony Peter was charged with breaking rule 72.1.45, it was believed that the two horses, Golden Sickle and One Fell Swoop, were probable were mixed up by the transport company that delivered them to his stables.

This conclusion now hardly seems conclusive.

Mrs Choice readily provided a detailed logistical map of the two fillies’ journey, suggesting that the blame for the confused identity may well lie elsewhere.

For information: the identity stickers state the horse’s name, the pick-up location and the delivery location.

According to the information, this was the calendar of delivery:

  • One Fell Swoop – Filly collected from Snaith Yard, Philippi, WC on 8th June 2023
  • Tuscan Gold – Gelding collected by Eric Sands, Milnerton, WC on 8th June 2023
  • Golden Sickle – Filly collected by Kelly Mitchley, Gqeberha on another float on 8th June 2023

The driver of the Western Cape Float noted in his notes:


At Fairview, coach explains

The two cars, one carrying the filly and gelding, the other the filly, then meet at Bains Equestrian in Bloemfontein, a stopover that the company has used every day for the past fifteen years.

Records show that driver 1 arrived in Bloemfontein from Gqeberha just before midnight on 8 June and driver 2 arrived in Bloemfontein from Cape Town in the early hours of 9 June.

driver 2, who was due to continue on to Johannesburg, allowed the horses to rest in a stable as usual. Then he left Bloemfontein a few hours later that same morning.

The three horses were delivered to Tony Peter’s stables in Turffontein early in the morning of June 9th.

Mrs. Choice sums up her concerns, including the fact that the trio have been at the Turffontein shipyard for almost a month, but blame is laid on the transporter.

She also says the NHA conducted the investigation, accepted blame about the carrier, but failed to contact them to get the facts.

She also feels that the Sporting contribution failed to ask her for facts and that the company’s reputation may have been damaged. The Sporting contribution I can confirm that the name of the company was never mentioned in our editorial and that the ‘involvement’ of the unnamed transport company was information that we accepted in good faith from the NHA.

We thank Mrs Choice for providing more detailed information including the fact that the two fillies came from stables 1000km apart and carried the stickers all the way to the delivery point. This certainly seems to relieve the transport company of the blame.

Another admin checkpoint in the movement process was apparently not mentioned. An inventory transfer form must be completed in the exit and entry stables within two days of the horse movement.

This form requires passport and microchip number details and includes a statement from the trainer that the horse has been correctly identified. It is unknown if this form is merely submitted by the NHA and if it serves a purpose beyond being a paper tiger.

It is also probably high time that every racing team in South Africa bought a scanner, which we believe costs less than R2,000.

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