Salient Points

  • 60 000 direct and indirect jobs to be lost if the horse racing industry continues in hard lockdown (at least 750 000 beneficiaries facing poverty)
  • About 400 of horses per month face the prospects of being euthanised if racing suspension persists
  • The National Command Council permission sought for eight (8) closed races per day totaling under 15 minutes to save the industry
  • Industry has an economic impact of about R2.9 billion per year with huge foreign earnings from horse exports and global television income

Passing of Mr Zenzile (Jackson) Feni

The National Horseracing Authority is saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Mr Zenzile (Jackson) Feni.  He showed symptoms of hypertension after taking ill yesterday morning.

Mr Feni was a long-time employee in the horseracing industry, working as a Groom, NHA Handler and enjoyed considerable success as a licensed Workrider.  He lived in Vosloorus at the time of his passing

The National Horseracing Authority extends its heartfelt condolences to his family during this time.


The National Horseracing Authority (NHA) have just received feedback on the submissions that were made to the Department of Agriculture,Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI),as the Horseracing Industry covers multiple sectors,to ensure the ongoing viability of the horseracing and breeding industry.

Our submissions thus far demonstrate our commitment and alignment to Government’s interventions in an attempt to preserve lives,flatten the curve,protect jobs and also stimulate the racing economy.Subsequently,our submissions were forwarded to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) and thereafter the National Coronavirus Command Council (Command Council).


The National Horseracing Authority has not received any feedback from Government to date on the status of the above submission.On reading the legislated Lockdown regulations that become effective on 1 May, under Table 1 Alert Level 4, “the transport of live animals”, clarity is being sought and it is our understanding that the movement of non-producing livestock, needs further amplification.


On 22 April 2020 The National Horseracing Authority sent a comprehensive submission to the President of the Republic of South Africa, the National Coronavirus Command Council, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.This application set out reasons and motivations as to why the horseracing industry should be allowed to stage behind closed doors race meetings under Lockdown, based on the following principles that horseracing:


Following Government’s announcement to extend the COVID-19 Lockdown to the end of April, there have been numerous meetings of the Racing Operators, the Racing Association and The National Horseracing Authority over the Easter weekend.  The following update is hereby provided :

Targeted Resumption of Racing

On the assumption that the extended national Lockdown is lifted AND that racing is permitted to resume with adequate betting revenues flowing to the Racing Operators, the plan is to recommence racing on Friday, 1 May. To this end, The National Horseracing Authority is in the process of making a coordinated representation to Government on behalf of the South African Horseracing Industry to enable such resumption after Lockdown is lifted, under whatever Government restrictions are implemented.

Given that we will have effectively lost 5 weeks of racing, the Racing Operators have agreed to push the National Feature Race Programme back around a month, which will mean that the Vodacom Durban July will take place on the last Saturday in July (with the Gold Cup meeting pushed out to the end of August). This will allow the Highveld to move a slightly revamped Champions Day (featuring the Champions Challenge and six other major races) to the last Saturday in May and stage the Horse Chestnut Stakes (Gr 1), SA Derby (Gr 1) and SA Oaks (Gr 2) on Saturday 2 May.


In terms of Chapter 4 of the Constitution of The National Horseracing Authority the Nominations Committee, consisting of past chairmen Adv. Altus Joubert, Mr Andrew O’Connor, Mr Larry Nestadt and Mr Jonathan Witts-Hewinson has appointed Mr Nithia Nalliah to fill the vacancy on the National Board as an  independent person in terms of clause 15.1.2 of the Constitution.Mr Nalliah is the final of the three independents in terms of clause 15.1.2, the other two being Adv S M Lebala SC and Adv R Bhana SC.


  • Kings Cup (Handicap) (Listed) 

BORN TO PERFORM has had his rating raised from 96 to 98 after he ran out a hard fought winner of the Listed King’s Cup (Handicap) over 1600m on the Greyville turf course on Sunday 22 March 2020.  The Handicappers agreed that runner-up TRISTFUL and third placed G G’s DYNASTY were the correct line horses to use and as such, both remain unchanged on 109 and 103, respectively.

The winner aside, there were no other increases to the ratings of any of the runners, but a number were given a drop.  CAPOEIRA is down from 112 to 110, CAMPHORATUS drops from 114 to 111, KNIGHTS TEMPLAR goes from 97 to 96, MASTER MAGIC is down to 98 from 100, and lastly AMOR ARDIENTE drops from 97 to 95.


The NHA, Phumelela, Gold Circle, Kenilworth Racing, the Racing Association and The Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust, as a further preventative measure, discourages all air travel of industry participants entering racecourses and training establishments countrywide, subject to the 14 day isolation period being complied with.  This is effective from Monday 23 March 2020. 

We appeal to all persons involved in the racing industry, to act responsibly and with integrity as your conduct and commitment is paramount to the continuation of racing fixtures. 

We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but the established high-risk element of airports and the severity of the CoronaVirus (COVID–19) necessitates such drastic measures.