By Jon Lees
South Africa: Trainer Frank Robinson has been found guilty of using racist language in a social media post but can resume running horses again.
Robinson, 53, was suspended by the National Horseracing Authority two weeks ago over a response to a Facebook post about Diwali, the annual festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.
He denied being racist and claimed his comment had been taken out of context, having been made in response to a friend’s post about the use of fireworks around animals.
Nevertheless Robinson was subsequently charged with using language which “could reasonably be construed to be racist to other persons in the racing industry”.
Robinson pleaded not guilty at an inquiry held in Durban on Thursday, when he was convicted by the disciplinary panel, who ordered his licence to be cancelled but suspended the sentence two years.
The trainer, who has the right to appeal, was also fined R25,000 (£1,200).
A statement said: “The National Horseracing Authority confirms that at an Inquiry held in Durban on 26 November 2020, Trainer L F Robinson was charged with a contravention of Rule 72.1.43.
“The specifics of the charge being that on or about 14 November 2020, he posted a comment on a social media platform which could reasonably be construed to be racist to other persons in the racing industry.
“Trainer Mr L F Robinson pleaded not guilty to the charge. However, after considering the evidence, the Inquiry Board found Trainer Robinson guilty as charged.
“The Inquiry Board imposed a penalty of a cancellation of his Trainer’s Licence, which is wholly suspended for a period of 2 years, on condition that he is not found guilty of a similar offence during this period.
“In addition to this penalty, the Inquiry Board imposed a fine of R25 000.
“Furthermore, Trainer L F Robinson’s interim suspension, that was imposed on him in terms of Rule 91.2, pending the finalisation of the Inquiry, is lifted with immediate effect. As such, Mr Robinson may enter and declare horses to race in terms of his Licence as a Trainer.
“Mr Robinson has the right of appeal against the finding and the penalty imposed.”
Robinson, who trains in KwaZulu-Natal, spent 28 years as assistant to Herman Brown, subsequently becoming his training partner.
Brown is best known for training Jay Peg, who in 2008 won the Dubai Duty Free and Singapore Airlines International Cup. He quit the training ranks in 2013 and handed control of the stable to Robinson, who has three winners to his name this season out of a total of 80 in the last five campaigns.