THE Turkish Veterinary Authority has rejected the nomination of Mike de Kock’s high-class performer The Apache to the Gr2 Topkapi Trophy on 8 September at Vellefendl Racecourse in Istanbul in a move Mike has described as “completely senseless”.
It has transpired that, in accordance with Turkish Government Regulations, the Jockey Club may not allow into their country any racehorse that had been vaccinated for African Horse Sickness (AHS), at any time prior to its intended entry.
Mike won the US$600 000 Topkapi Trophy at the Turkish International Festival in 2011 with Musir who had in fact been vaccinated for AHS before being exported to and racing in Dubai and the UK, but believes that Musir’s vaccination wasn’t picked up by the Turkish authorities because he was bred in Australia.
Mike commented: “Musir, The Apache and many other vaccinated South African horses have been racing successfully in jurisdictions around the world for the last decade and more. Since 1997, when South Africa negotiated a protocol with the European Union, more than 1000 vaccinated horses have been exported and we’ve had runners compete from Dubai to Hong Kong to the UK and Australia and the US.
“Turkey is paying no respect to this whatsoever. They are firmly not negotiable on the matter and are not even willing to discuss individual cases. It has also come to my attention that Argentina follows the same policy, which is similarly surprising and just as disappointing.
“The South African industry has in recent years embraced the Turkish industry in a variety of joint ventures to their mutual benefit. Argentina, of course, has for many decades generated enormous profits from their close ties with South African racing, not only through bloodstock sales but also by implication via the significant enhancement of their stud book thanks to countless top stakes performing Argentine-breds in South Africa.
“What is being enforced in Turkey is senseless and simply stupid and is just another example of discrimination against South African racing which seems to continue unabated when it comes to quarantine, import and export protocols. We take two steps back for every step forward. It is worrying and discouraging.”
Racing South Africa, the National Horseracing Authority and Phumelela have reacted quickly in support of Mike and the connections of The Apache, all engaging with the Turkish authorities.
In a letter to the Turkish Jockey Club, Racing South Africa CEO, Peter Gibson, writes: “I have requested the South African Veterinary Authority to communicate with the Turkish Veterinary Authority in this regard, but would appreciate the Jockey Club of Turkey taking this up with your authority as a matter of urgency. Without the intervention of industry, there will be no drive to rectify what is clearly an unscientific and irrelevant import condition imposed by the Turkish Veterinary Authority.”
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