Markus Jooste's racing interests in spotlight as regulator seeks answers

Cape Town - The National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa (NHA) has requested clarity from Mayfair Speculators, the company dealing with former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste's horseracing interests.

Jooste, a horse breeder and racing fanatic, quit as Steinhoff International Holdings NV CEO last Tuesday after the discovery of suspected financial wrongdoing.

Shares in the global clothing and furniture retailer have crashed 85% since, wiping a staggering €11bn (R176bn) from the value of the company.

On Monday in a press release, the NHA said that given the current media speculation surrounding Jooste and his resignation they have requested clarity and information from Mayfair Speculators.

This is largely in reaction to the Public Servants Association's (PSA) insistence that Jooste's horses be barred from competing in two major race days in January 2018, both at Kenilworth racecourse in Cape Town.

Those race days in question are the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate on Saturday, January 6 and the Sun Met three weeks later on January 27.

“The PSA, as custodian of public servants’ pensions, cannot allow Jooste to continue making millions until an investigation into the irregularities has been completed,” the union said.

The Queen's Plate offers prize money of R1.5m alone which excludes money on offer for the other races on the card.

Sun Met day is dubbed "Africa's richest race day" with R15m on offer in addition to the main attraction which boasts a R5m purse.

As recently as 2015, Jooste was believed to be the world's second biggest racehorse owner, behind Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.

Reigning SA Horse of the Year, Legal Eagle, seeking a hat-trick of Queen's Plate victories - and currently the bookmakers' favourite to do so - is owned by Jooste's Mayfair Speculators.

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