ANDREW O'CONNOR RE-ELECTED AS CHAIRMAN
OF THE NATIONAL HORSERACING AUTHORITY
At a meeting of the National Board which took place immediately following the Special General Meeting on Wednesday, 20th January 2016, Mr Andrew O'Connor was re-elected as Chairman of The National Horseracing Authority.
Andrew will resume his responsibilities as Chairman for another year, to the next AGM.
NOTICE TO ALL TRAINERS
THE DETECTION AND PROSECUTION OF COBALT USE
IN THE HORSE
Cobalt is naturally found in all animals and animal feed and is considered an essential dietary trace element and micronutrient. Cobalt deficiency is not observed in horses in the wild and the normal diet of horses in combination with the usual prescribed vitamin supplementation should supply the horse with sufficient cobalt for its well-being and health. Cobalt is classed as a ’heavy metal’ and is a structural component of vitamin B12 (cobalamin). This vitamin is involved in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system and in the final stages of red blood cell formation and maturation. All of cobalt’s potential physiological effects in the horse have not yet been determined; however, high doses can present severe toxic effects and be very detrimental to the health of the horse.
Evidence suggests that cobalt preparations are being used inappropriately in racehorses in some racing jurisdictions. As cobalt is naturally present in equine biological samples such as blood and urine, it was decided that the introduction of an international threshold for cobalt will be necessary to facilitate the control of misuse in racehorses.
Trainers are advised that the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) has set an international threshold of 0.1 microgram per millilitre cobalt in horse urine. The NHA, as a signatory country of the IFHA, has now adopted this threshold in its rules. This decision was made following a survey which showed that natural levels of cobalt in racehorses within South Africa correspond to those observed in other countries and that the threshold can be applied to the local population. In future any finding of cobalt above this international threshold will be a Class 3 offence.
A large range of registered oral and injectable veterinary supplements which contain vitamin B12 (cobalamin) are available for use in the horse. The administration of any of these could give rise to an elevation of total cobalt levels in blood and urine.
It is recommended that supplemental cobalt from any source, including registered cobalt containing supplements and vitamin B12 (cobalamin), not be administered to the horse within at least two full days prior to race day. Higher doses than those indicated by the product and also repeated administrations may require longer elimination periods. Note that reliance on and use of this guidance does not absolve or diminish a trainer or owner from being responsible for ensuring that the horse complies with the rules relating to the presence of drugs and prohibited substances when presenting a horse.
CHANGES TO THE GRADED RACES
The National Horseracing Authority has taken a decision to downgrade four races from Grade 1 to Grade 2. The races to be downgraded in 2016 are:
• Golden Horseshoe
• Golden Slipper
• S A Oaks
• Gold Cup
The downgrading of these races followed a recommendation from the Graded Races Committee. The Graded Races Committee had received a letter from the Asian Pattern Committee expressing concern that the number of Grade 1 races in South Africa was excessive compared to other countries. The Asian Pattern Committee has in fact suggested that ideally South Africa should have no more than 25 Grade 1 races and against this background, the Graded Races Committee has agreed to aggressively review all of South Africa’s Grade 1 races over the next few years. The down grading of the aforementioned races is the first phase of this process.
In 2011 South Africa agreed to comply with the Ground Rules of the Asian Pattern Committee. In terms of the Ground Rules all races must justify their grading by the quality of its runners. The quality of the field is assessed primarily by the annual race ratings of the first four placed horses over a three year period. The Asian Pattern Committee also expressed concern that a number of South African Grade 1 races did not measure up to the international standards.
In recommending that the Golden Horseshoe and the Golden Slipper be downgraded, the Graded Races Committee was of the view that the number of Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds was excessive. These races had also not measured up to the international standards over the past years.
The S A Oaks and the Gold Cup also fell short of the international requirements for Grade 1 races. Notwithstanding that these are of the best races in their category, the overall quality of staying horses in South Africa unfortunately does not compare with other countries in Part 1 of the International Cataloguing Standards.
Investigation - Jockey J Samuel Incident
An investigation into Jockey J Samuel’s incident on 4 December 2015 at Greyville Racecourse, was conducted by the KwaZulu-Natal Stipendiary Board.
Following an incident in Race 4 at Greyville Racecourse on 4 December 2015, Jockey Jarred Samuel required medical attention and he was transported to hospital for further medical care.
Subsequent to this incident a number of allegations were made public by certain parties which brought into question the level of medical care which was afforded to Jockey Samuel, as well as the medical response times at the Course.
The National Horseracing Authority opened an investigation into these concerns and the KwaZulu-Natal Stipendiary Board’s findings are quoted hereunder:
Following the Jarred Samuel incident on 4 December 2015 at Greyville Racecourse and the public criticism which followed regarding the medical care afforded to him, an investigation was conducted by the KwaZulu-Natal Stipendiary Board. The Management of EMS and the Medical Doctor on duty were interviewed, as well as the NHA staff present at the scene.
The following points were noted:-
The ambulance never had to travel around the track again to get to Jockey Samuel. The ambulance stopped on the road alongside the patient and when Jockey Samuel was stabilized, the ambulance driver proceeded through the Golf Club car park, some 150 metres, to get onto the track in the pull up area. The Doctor on duty is summoned to any emergency by the Racing Operator’s Duty Manager. The Doctors bag remains in the Jockeys’ weighing room as this is where the Doctor is generally needed most on a race day and the Doctor also assists with the sample collection of the riders. Should the Doctor be called by the Duty Manager, the Doctor proceeds to the scene and the Duty Manager who remains in the Stipendiary Boardroom/ Greyville office, which are adjacent to the weighing room, takes the bag to the scene. The emergency team then advises the Duty Manager whether an additional ambulance should be called. In light of this long standing procedure, the point of the Doctor forgetting his bag is incorrect.
With regards to there not being the correct forms available due to the last form being used when a Handler was injured, it must be noted that Handlers when injured are treated in terms of Injured on Duty. These forms clearly differ from Jockeys’ forms who are covered under their own medical aid.
Gold Circle manages the rider’s medical aid nationally. No rider may participate in races in South Africa should he not be covered by medical aid, as well as the necessary insurances. As such, Gold Circle has a standing agreement with St Augustine’s Hospital and Entabeni Hospital (Greyville) and the Medi Clinic Hospital (Scottsville) where riders are treated under a guarantee by Gold Circle, thereby ensuring no delays.
Gold Circle Management together with the KwaZulu-Natal Stipendiary Board hold regular meetings with EMS to ensure that the standards for the ambulance and qualifications of the paramedics are maintained. The last such meeting was February 2015. Since that date the ambulance and paramedics have not changed.
Following a meeting on 11 December 2015 between the same parties, we are satisfied that as per the agreements in place, the ambulance is equipped to offer full advanced life support. Furthermore, that there is an advanced life support paramedic on duty at all race meetings.
In considering the detailed replies from the EMS and the Course Medical Officer, as well as from the NHA staff present on the scene, we are satisfied with the treatment afforded to Jockey Samuel.
One aspect of this incident that does raise concern is that too many by-standers/ members of the public were present at the scene. Gold Circle has been notified that in future stricter measures should be put in place to prevent members of the public hindering the efforts of the trained medical professionals.
ATTENTION ALL TRAINERS
As we approach the time when we start getting early cases of AHS, trainers and vets who may be involved in moving horses in to the Cape to race are reminded to make arrangements timeously.
As soon as there is an outbreak of AHS, movement restrictions will be imposed. Some trainers in the infected area are considering using the high health protocol (attached) pro-actively – i.e. putting horses into vector protected quarantine at least 14 days before the intended movement – to make sure movements can happen irrespective of whether there is an outbreak of AHS within a 40km radius or not. The high health protocol is dependent on the availability of the State Vet at origin and State Vet at destination and a responsible private veterinarian who will undertake to enforce all the conditions of the protocol, manage the process and who will issue the health certificate for movement.
It is most important that arrangements are made well ahead- please contact Dr Gary Buhrmann and Dr Camilla Weyer to assist ASAP. (Facilities need to be vector protected and approved well ahead).
For more information contact Dr Dale Wheeler.
At the recent National Board Meeting it was decided that the minimum monetary penalty for a contravention of the Rules should be R500,00.
As such, the fine for a contravention of Rule 8.3.1 will now be R500,00. All fines will be adjusted accordingly.
NOTICE TO TRAINERS
SUSPENSION OF HORSES FOR EPISTAXIS
Please note that with effect 01 November 2015, the suspension of horses for a first episode of epistaxis has been reduced from 90 days to 60 days. This decision has been made by the NHA veterinary department and approved by the National Board after lengthy consultation with owners, trainers and private practitioners. This will be run on a trial basis for a year and shall be reassessed each year by means of ongoing analysis of data collected by the NHA veterinarians. Should it become evident that the amount of repeat bleeders is increasing, then the NHA reserve the right to return to the original 90 day suspension.
The NHA veterinary department is of the opinion that this trial will provide critical information to address the very contentious issue of the correct period of rest required for a horse to heal after an episode of epistaxis. We are comfortable that we will be able to monitor the data on a regular basis and that we will be able to take remedial action immediately should we feel that the situation is worsening. The converse is also true, in that if there is no effect on the amount of repeat episodes of epistaxis after a few years of monitoring, then we could consider reducing the 60 days even further. This ground breaking research will provide a lot of answers to a lot of questions concerning epistaxis and its effect on the racehorse.
Please note that the period of suspension for a second episode of epistaxis remains 180 days, unless the horse has raced for more than a year after its first suspension, in which case the suspension would be 60 days again. A third episode of epistaxis shall remain a permanent suspension.
SEAN TARRY FOUND NOT TO HAVE CONTRAVENED ANY RULES
An Inquiry Board, Chaired by Adv John Myburgh SC, was convened to establish if any of the NHA Rules were contravened by Mr Sean Tarry by inter alia filing an affidavit which recanted his earlier evidence given at the Khumalo Inquiry.
The Tarry Inquiry Board concluded the hearing on 11 September 2015 and gave its findings on 17 September 2015. After hearing the evidence presented by Mr Tarry, the Board accepted Mr Tarry’s version of how it came about that he recanted his evidence. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it concluded that Mr Tarry could not be found to have contravened any of the NHA Rules.
The Inquiry Board also dismissed the criticism that this inquiry was a “witch hunt” and stated that the NHA, in furtherance of its objects, namely to promote and maintain honourable practice and to eliminate malpractice and to regulate the sport of thoroughbred horseracing, was entitled, and indeed obliged, to investigate whether Mr Tarry had breached any Rules by recanting his evidence.
18 September 2015
REMINDER TO BREEDERS, VETERINARIANS AND STUD MANAGERS
Following the recent TBA’s “Breeder Education Seminar” presented by Professor Martin Schulman, Breeders are reminded that in order to be compliant with Rule 33.1 of the Stud Health Scheme of the NHA, barren and maiden mares must be accompanied by an official NHA "Certificate of Breeding Soundness for Barren and Maiden Mares" form. This form is required to be correctly filled in and signed by appropriately qualified and registered persons. It should be noted that only the "Certificate of Breeding Soundness for Barren and Maiden Mares" form is acceptable.
However, should Stallion Owners or Managers require further levels of compliance to protect their stallions, they are free to do so. These additional requirements should be incorporated into the Stallion Contracts.
For and on behalf of the Liaison Committee of the National Horseracing Authority, SA Equine Veterinary Association and the Thoroughbred Breeders Association.”
NOTICE TO ALL TRAINERS
Please be advised that with immediate effect notifications of castrations must be sent using the official NHA’s “NOTIFICATION OF CASTRATION” form.
This form is available on the NHA website and is available at the regional offices of the NHA.
Please ensure that the Chief Stipendiary Steward in your region is notified of any castrations or of any castrated horses entering your training establishment within the stipulated seven (7) day period.
CAPTAIN OF ALL RATED JOINT 17th IN THE WORLD
In the latest LONGINES World's Best racehorse Rankings (for 3yos and upwards which raced between 1st January 2015 and 9th August 2015) Captain Of All (SAF) was rated joint 17th in the world. Rated at 121 it is exactly 10 points behind the current leading horse American Pharoah (USA).
AMENDMENT TO THE GUIDELINES FOR CLASSIFICATION OF PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES
At a meeting of the National Board held on 30 July 2015, it was agreed that the Guidelines for Classification of Prohibited Substances would be amended by the addition of the following substances:
CARBON DIOXIDE (Total available Carbon Dioxide)
Accordingly, Carbon Dioxide is classified as a Class 2 substance, a substance which has an obvious effect on a horse. The internationally agreed threshold level for Carbon Dioxide is 36 millimoles available Carbon Dioxide per litre in plasma.
Cobalt is classified as a Class 3 substance, a substance which has the potential to affect the performance of the horse. The internationally agreed threshold level for Cobalt is 0.1 microgram total cobalt per millilitre in urine.