A siren, tripped accidentally cause confusion during a race at Turffontein racecourse. Photo: supplied
A siren, tripped accidentally cause confusion during a race at Turffontein racecourse. Photo: supplied

Siren sews confusion at Turffontein

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Aug 12, 2020

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Horse racing company Phumelela have conducted an inquiry into the incident in race seven at Turffontein on Monday in which the jockeys were confused by the ambulance siren that sounds similar to that of the false start siren. The ambulance siren was activated shortly after the horses had jumped from the starting stalls.

In the NHA enquiry it was revealed that seven of the eight jockeys had heard the siren and most of them had consequently stopped riding.

The race was declared null and void.

However, the ambulance company does not fall under the NHA’s jurisdiction so a further inquiry into the matter had to be done by the operator.

Medi Response consequently sent the following report to Phumelela:

1. You requested an investigation into an incident whereby the racing

ambulance’s siren was allegedly activated immediately after the starter

released the gates for Race 7 [of 10 August 2020] held at the Turffontein


2. This report serves to record the findings of our investigation into the

above-mentioned incident.

3. We can confirm that the siren of the racing ambulance was activated after the gates were released during Race 7 on 10 August 2020.

4. We are further able to report the following findings to you for consideration in

the matter:

4.1 The personnel involved reported the incident to Medi Response management on the same day as the issue arising. To this extent, a statement was received from the driver, while the crew was also interviewed by the undersigned writer.

4.2 Our conclusion is that the siren was activated accidentally while the

ambulance was manoeuvring around a stationary vehicle (now identified as

the veterinary vehicle) in order to follow the string of horses in-running.

4.2.1 TAKE NOTE: emergency vehicle sirens are often wired (via the

vehicle’s steering column) to the hooter on the steering wheel for

ease of activation when needing to respond to an emergency. The

vehicle deployed at Turffontein on 10 August 2020 has such a

configuration (i.e. the siren is activated through the steering wheel).

4.3 In addition to the above-mentioned stationary vehicle, there were some

pedestrians standing (and seated) on the inside track that is generally used

by the ambulance during races.

Andrew Harrison

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