By Jon Lees
South Africa: Racing officials in South Africa have suspended racehorse trainer Frank Robinson while it investigates his alleged use of racist language.
The National Horseracing Authority opened an inquiry after being made aware of comments posted on social media by Robinson.
Robinson was alleged to have made racist comments in response to a post about Diwali, the annual festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, which began at the weekend.
The National Horseracing Authority announced in a statement, “After careful consideration of the social media post and the prima facie evidence, the Chief Executive and Racing Control Executive have placed an interim suspension on trainer Robinson in terms of the provisions of Rule 91.2.
“This interim suspension prevents trainer Robinson from entering or declaring horses under his licence until such time as the Inquiry is finalised.
“In the interests of horse welfare, Mr Robinson will be permitted access to horses in his care during the period of interim suspension.”
Gold Circle, which organises horse racing in KwaZulu-Natal, also issued a statement regarding the incident.
”Gold Circle is aware of comments attributed to a KZN-based trainer on social media and disassociates itself from those comments which in no way reflect the views of Gold Circle,” it said.
”The company does not tolerate any form of racial discrimination and whilst the NHA conducts an investigation into this matter, Gold Circle will be doing their own investigation and deciding on an appropriate course of action.”
Robinson, 53, worked for 28 years as assistant to Herman Brown jnr, subsequently becoming his training partner.
Brown is best known for training the 2008 Dubai Duty Free and Singapore Airlines International Cup winner Jay Peg but quit the training ranks in 2013 handing control of the stable to Robinson.
Robinson has trained three winners this season out of a total of 80 in the last five campaigns.