Boy did the s… hit the fan in South Africa last night.
In footage that was shades of the most famous illegal battle down the Randwick straight when Mel Schumaker reached down and pulled another jock’s leg in the 1961 AJC Derby, the two best riders in South Africa were called into the Steward’s room for a please explain.
And when they did, shock waves went through the sport.
The inquiry was held at Turffontein and featured the two highest stars of the jockey ranks: Muzi Yeni and Lyle Hewitson.
Hewitson, an apprentice wonder kid, was on a horse when Yeni’s mount came up alongside it. They were then locked in battle.
The Stewards, when the dust had settled and all angles had been viewed, decided to fine Yeni after agreeing he let go of his reins, moved his hand down and grabbed young Hewitson’s arm during the running of a race at Greyville on 27 July.
The steward’s invoked rule 72.1.11.
Yeni pleaded not guilty and has the Right Of Appeal.
The Stewards outed him for 90 days.
That’s a far cry from when the Shoe copped his fine for grabbing Tommy Hill’s leg in that AJC Derby.
To recap, and it wasn’t all that much different to Yeni and Hewitson, Schumacher was near the rails on Blue Era while Hill, on Summer Fair, was challenging on his outside.
Nothing untoward could be seen from the stands when Schumacher threw his arm out at Tommy Hill.
Back in the enclosure, as the horses returned, Hill screamed out loud and the Stewards hauled them into the room.
The head on footage showed what happened and Mel Schumacher’s world collapsed around him.
Schumacher, who had celebrated his 24th birthday only the month before, was outed for life by the AJC Stewards on a charge of foul riding.
The disqualification cut short the career of arguably the most promising and fearless jockey in the country at the time.
Schumacher’s sentence was reduced upon appeal, and he got back into race-riding, but the long term on the outer shot his career to pieces.
Even the reduction was scary compared to the 90 days Yeni just copped. The Shoe was banned for 10 years.