Who will take a stand for us?

I’M at Dubai International Airport about to fly back to South Africa after a fantastic meeting earlier tonight at Meydan (13 February 2014). It’s party time with friends and family at home this weekend and I have many reasons to be happy, though a sense of frustration grips me every time our runners win so well here in Dubai and in other parts of the world.

Tonight, South African breeders produced three high-class winners at a single international meeting – showing for the umpteenth time that they can compete with the world’s best. Yet the draconian protocols that prevent us from shipping bloodstock directly from South Africa to the various racing jurisdictions abroad, remain firmly in place with apparently no light at the tunnel’s end.


The existing export restrictions stipulate that horses shipped from South Africa have to spend a potential health threatening 147 days en route to Dubai and elsewhere. This includes a 50 day residency period in Mauritius where they are locked in their stables from 4pm to 8.30am with only an early morning feed and then 40 days in quarantine with a spell in the UK where severe climate changes have to be dealt with.

Our results at this Dubai meeting were spectacular. If the racing world doesn’t wake up after this, I don’t know what it will take to get them fully behind us.  Our stud farms breed high quality bloodstock at the most affordable prices and our results get better every year.

The three South African-breds won in top company at the world’s richest racing extravaganza, proving their class and versatility. Variety Club, our dual Horse Of The Year, franked his form with an easy Gr3 win, first time out on foreign soil and a new racing surface. Vercingetorix, an unbeaten Gr1 winner in SA, stepped out winning after his long travels and Sanshaawes underlined the strength of our form with an easy victory on the all-weather track.

While we continue to face our opposition with consistently excellent results, the South African racing industry is severely hampered from competing on equal terms with the rest of the world. We don’t have many friends, and there is no help forthcoming. There’s a group of influential decision-makers purposefully standing in our way. We’re held back by opinion, not by science and it’s patently wrong!

Just imagine the heights we could reach if we were allowed to export our bloodstock within reasonable times, in line with the rest of the racing world. As it stands, our ability to compete on the racetrack and in the sales ring is limited.

Racing’s power players should be helping us, but they’d rather roll stumbling blocks in our way. As the moment we’re treading water. We need individuals with clout at decision-making level to open the doors and with that the floodgates for our industry. This will lead to huge foreign investments in our bloodstock, job creation and more internationally recognised achievements.


  1. Mike is so right. South African thoroughbreds are world class and it would be of great benefit to us all if a sensible solution can be found to establish fairer export protocols for them to join the world tour of horseracing. Incubation for African Horse Sickness is a maximum of of 14 days, so why does it take half a year to get them into the system? Politics??!!

  2. They say keep knocking and doors will open so Mike keep it up! I’d like to know what Racing south africa is doing about this protocol issue. Now and then we see a press release with terms and issues no-one can understand, and some promises and vague dates.It is my suspicion that they are doing very little, coining salaries and letting things be. Am I wrong?

    Mike I would have suggested get some wealthy owners together, raise money and grease a few palms, but as you suggest this seems to be about jealousy and holding our racing performers back on purpose, like a game being played. And nowwhere have i read a name! Where are they hiding?? It makes sense that there must be one Godfather pulling strings? There always is! Get his name and zoom in on him. There has to be one ***cker that is more active than the rest in causing these headaches. Root out this shadowy cockroach and nail him.

  3. I suspect that that “cockroach Godfather” may well be found some place in the land “Down Under” where Hendra that kills not only horses, but Humans as well, is found. And guess who may have the most to loose if we can suddenly export our champions, proven or in the wings??
    Please correct me if I am on the wrong track, but I believe this to be a good starting point;

  4. I would just like to congratulate Mike on a fantastic training achievement. Your achievements have been simply breath taking. All South African racing fans are proud of you and your team.

  5. Andrew Lines says:

    Mike , what is necessary is a truck load of cash , a team of advocates , and the formulation of a case , brought to a court that can hear and adjudicate over the matter of the quarantine laws preventing the immediate travel of South African horses .
    Interested parties can make this happen !
    If need be , a variation of the same case to different courts in different countries according to the laws in each country . The strength of the science thatt you are talking about is the constant in each case , as it is in a collective case . The rest could be construed as variable within the legislation specific to each country or group of countries .

  6. Thank you thank you thank you For I have bought you a horse red duke noted that beautiful horse and his behavior is very excellent

  7. I see alec hogg comments this morning that progress has been made on the protocol front.
    any info from mdk?