JOCKEY Richard Fourie, speaking in the aftermath of the controversial 2014 Vodacom Durban July, says he was ‘furious’ and should have won the race by a half length or even a length, had things gone smoothly.
MICHAEL CLOWER filed this report for Gold Circle:
“Legislate jumped well and came out a little bit aggressive. Nobody took any initiative to come up my inside so I took the opportunity to move across and I had a nice soft lead until Wylie Hall went on.
“I waited until the top of the straight before asking my horse to quicken. Wylie Hall also quickened up well so I just held mine together. He shied a little bit from the crowd. I didn’t really brush Wylie Hall but I did get close. I straightened mine out and moved away. But from the 300m to the winning post I was carried over.
Fourie: No happy chappy after Durban July.
“I was making up ground and I got to within a neck when he brushed me. He was in front and he was intimidating me. We brushed again and he was basically knocking me back each time. I wanted to get going again but I was bumped once more, and all the time I was being carried wide the width of five or six horses while I was trying to keep my horse straight.
“Passing the post I was furious because I felt I should have won and that, had things all gone smoothly, I would have won by half a length or a length. I rode to where the officials were and said I was objecting. I was told where I should go but, before I got to the stewards’ office, I heard the announcement that I had objected.”
How MJ Byleveld saw things from the back of Wylie Hall:
“I picked it up a little bit further than halfway because they were going too slowly. In the straight I did brush Legislate but he unbalanced me first and unbalanced himself. When I passed the post a head in front I thought I had it but then Richard shouted at me, saying ‘Objection,’ that he was going to object.”
Byleveld’s view of the objection result: “I went past the post first but they [the stipes] made their decision. That’s racing. I will just have to come back next year and win the race.”
Most onlookers, both in the stands and on television, felt that the decision was unfair and that Wylie Hall, as first past the post, should have been given the benefit of the doubt. However the head-on film in the boardroom showed a very different, far more revealing picture to the one shown by Tellytrack and the close-circuit TV, and it made the stipes’ decision understandable – even if not inevitable.
Cape Town senior stipe Ernie Rodrigues, officially acting at Greyville and talking this pressman through the film, said: “Legislate brushes the hindquarters of Wylie Hall and then in the last 200m Wylie Hall brushes Legislate three times while moving across the width of four or five horses as Legislate was trying to get past him and at the line we are only talking about a head.”