DURBAN - The race has not been run yet, but the Vodacom Durban July has already delivered drama with top local jockey Muzi Yeni losing a desperate race against time last night to get to Durban from Mauritius to ride Ten Gun Salute, at present the joint fourth favourite at 8/1.
Yeni has been stopped from leaving Mauritius by authorities, while they investigate controversial postings on social media.
Horse trainer Duncan Howells said jockey Weichong Marwing, who has yet to win the big race, has been confirmed to ride Ten Gun Salute in Yeni’s place.
This came as fashionistas, celeb queens, music legends, movie stars and sports icons prepare to rub shoulders with captains of industry and political heavyweights today at the most glamorous event on the South African social calendar.
Details of the Mauritian investigation are sketchy, but according to Yeni’s attorney in South Africa, Bruce Armstrong, the chances of Yeni leaving the island before Monday are minimal.
It is also alleged that jockeys Raymond Danielson and Brandon Lerena were videoed aboard a yacht owned by a Mauritian bookmaker, an illegal relationship on the island, and have each been handed three-month suspensions by Mauritian racing authorities.
According to Armstrong, Yeni tried to leave on Thursday night, but was detained at the airport. After being questioned by police, he was released on a warning that it was an ongoing investigation and that he was not to leave the island.
Yeni had earlier submitted to a Mauritian Jockey Club inquiry after damning postings on social media, but was cleared of the charges because there was no evidence the posts had come from his phone.
Andrew Harrison and Tanya Waterworth