THE 24-month suspension of exports from South Africa to European Union countries is up in May but Racing South Africa CEO Peter Gibson says the export protocol is unlikely to be reinstated before August.
“There’s a whole process that we still have to go through and it’s not straightforward,” Gibson said. “Firstly the EU will send an inspection team, hopefully sometime in May. The team will submit their report to the EU parliament and get the issue on their agenda. Then we wait. Obviously we’ll be lobbying to get it expedited.”
He stressed that the lifting of the ban was dependent on there being no outbreak of African horse sickness in the control area of the Western Cape.
“All movements will continue to be strictly monitored, particularly because we are in a high-risk time of year.”
There are hopes that ruling Horse Of The Year Variety Club will get to the Breeders’ Cup race meeting in November and Gibson believes if the suspension is lifted in August, Joey Ramsden’s charge will have plenty of time to get to the USA fit and ready to compete.
“That would be first prize,” said Gibson. “Variety Club would have to spend 40 days in quarantine in Cape Town, where there will be no disruptions to his training programme. He’ll fly directly into England or a European country and from there, can move on immediately to anywhere in the world.”
If the protocols are not reinstated in their original format by August, Variety Club’s connections will have to consider sending him straight to New York, where he would have to spend 60 days in “lock-up” quarantine. Unless authorities there give his trainer permission to install a treadmill, he will be unable to work.
The only other way out the country is through Mauritius, the route Mike de Kock’s Dubai warriors took, and they were almost six months in reaching their destination.
Ramsden is overseas at the moment and could not be contacted for comment.