Equine exports still on hold

PUBLISHED: 09 July 2019

Walter Smoothie (Candiese Marnewick))

Adrian Todd, who said on Winning Ways five months ago, that he was aiming to have South Africa opened up for direct equine exports to Europe by June, has now put back his sights to later in the year.

The all-important stepping stone to the pot of gold that lies at the end of this particular rainbow is an audit of the present protocols by the European Union’s veterinary officials.

Todd said: “We have asked them if they want to come and do an audit, and our application is in. My money is that they will want to. It is considered a trade issue and it is being finalised now but we already have the risk control measures in place.

Walter Smoothie (Candiese Marnewick))
Walter Smoothie (Candiese Marnewick))

“I am very encouraged. It has all been a long time coming and it has been tough but I am confident that we will get it this year.”

Asked specifically whether “it” means the audit or the opening up of direct exports, Todd replied: “Both.”

Todd, managing director of South Africa Equine Health and Protocols, has been working on this project for almost two years and has recently been encouraged by the work and advice of a European-based expert that he has engaged to steer him through the bureaucracy and requirements of the relevant departments of the European Union. He also has the support and assistance of the South African government.

Opening up the protocols would transform the fortunes of the South African breeding industry because our horses are cheap by the standards of Australia and other Southern Hemisphere countries and are proven on the international stage.

For the first time samples were taken from all the runners in the Vodacom Durban July on the day before the race – not, as some cynic suggested, in case the post-race ones were hijacked again but as an improved integrity measure. The first three were also sampled as in previous years.

There will be similar pre-race testing for the Sun Met and senior racing control executive Arnold Hyde said: “We are looking to up our game although we won’t get the results until this week whereas in Japan and Hong Kong, where they have bigger budgets, they get them before the race. We have already done this for a few of the big races at Turffontein but there we took the samples on the morning of the race.”

Walter Smoothie, Stuart Pettigrew’s first winner of the DStv Gold Vase, is to be gelded after running in the eLan Gold Cup on July 27.

Pettigrew explained: “He is a rig and sometimes his testicles worry him. That is why he is not as consistent as he should be but he is a really good stayer and the pace last Saturday was just right for him.”

However Justin Snaith is beginning to despair of finding a winning opportunity for third-placed Strathdon who made much of the running but has not won since December 2017.He has been placed in six of his 11 subsequent starts.

“He had 52kg on his back when he won that December 2017 race and ever since he seems to have had one of the top weights in staying races. On Saturday he ran his heart out under 60kg and he could hardly stand after the race. It’s very disappointing. I will speak to the owners (Alec and Gillian Foster) and see what they think.”

Toby Spies and his son Corne are targeting the Thekwini Stakes (July 27) with both Cockney Pride and What You Are, first and second in the Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper.

The winner was little backed at 17-1 but Corne said: “We were expecting a good run but we were worried about how she would take the bend. My father would love to have come on Saturday but my mother Annatjie is not too well so he stayed in Jo’burg.”

Odds-on Eden Roc and well backed (20-1 to 9-1) stable companion Putontheredlight, first and second in the Durban Golden Horseshoe, are both under consideration for the Premiers Champion Stakes.

Sean Tarry, who also won the Golden Horseshoe with Purple Diamond two years ago, said: “I am going to leave them both in Durban, study the draws and then decide but the runner-up is definitely looking for the mile.”

By Michael Clower