The National Horseracing Authority confirms that it has received notification from The Mauritius Turf Club that Jockey Piere Strydom incurred a fine and a suspension whilst riding in that Country.

Jockey Strydom was fined Rs. 50,000 and suspended from riding in races for a period of 6 (six) weeks in terms of their Rules of Racing. The particulars being that he was found guilty of contravening MTC Rule 160 A (j) in that as the rider of MAN FROM SEATTLE, he failed to ride to the satisfaction of the Stewards from the 400m in Race 2 on Saturday, 3 August 2019.

Mauritius is a Specified Racing Authority in terms of Rule 91.1.2 and as such, the suspension will be reciprocated by The National Horseracing Authority.

Jockey Strydom is suspended from riding in races from 6 August 2019 and may resume race riding on 18 September 2019.



FM 76 HANDICAP (F & M)” : 1000m

The National Horseracing Authority confirms that at the race meeting held at Flamingo Park Racecourse on Monday, 12 August 2019, Judge Mr Nigel Mazibuko erred in entering the incorrect result for Race 9. 

The details of the error are that,  the Judge originally advised the Stipendiary Board of the correct result of the race that being: 2 x 6 x DH 3, 13 x 8.  It was based on this disclosure that the Stipendiary Board gave the “ALL CLEAR".  However, during the subsequent entering of the result onto the system, the Judge erred and entered the dead heat for third position as 3 x 8 x 13.

In these circumstances, that is where the Judge makes an error in declaring the placings in a race, Rule 65.8 makes provision for the correction of this error. In this regard, and after an investigation into the matter, it was established that from the photo finish of the race it was visually evident that there was a 0,50 length difference between the dead heat third position and fifth position.  Accordingly, the Judge’s result was amended to the correct result.

Additionally, in order to ensure that the above application does not result in prejudice to any interested party, the NHA recommended to the Racing Operator that it amended its declared result to read as the correct result. The NHA acknowledged that this would ordinarily come at a cost to the Racing Operator, however, the NHA takes full accountability and responsibility for the error.

Ultimately, the above decision is in the best interest of the sport of thoroughbred horseracing.

Internal disciplinary action will be taken.

The National Horseracing Authority’s Handicapping Panel awarded an unusually high Merit Rating for a debut winner of 105 to the two-year-old filly  WORLD RADAR after her emphatic debut win in a maiden juvenile plate for fillies over 1200m on the Fairview turf course on Friday, 26 July.

It is extremely rare for any debut winner to be given a three-digit Merit Rating in any region, but this was an exceptional case.  In a field of 14, the first four to finish were all on debut.  The margin between the winner and the runner-up was 6.75 lengths, with a further 10.25 lengths between second and third, and half-a-length between third and fourth.

Such was the strength of this performance that second placed GLORY DAYS ran to a rating of 89, which in itself is higher than the mark achieved by most two-year-old maiden winners. 

The first previously raced horse to finish, SPEECHMAKER, was beaten a total of 18 lengths into fifth place.  In order to take what in reality is a somewhat conservative view, the Handicappers to rate the race using SPEECHMAKER to the worst of her four previous performances, being the 64 which she achieved when finishing 6th of 9 on her debut in a juvenile plate in February.  This leads to WORLD RADAR achieving a rating of 105, and given that the race was dominated by unknown quantities racing for the first time there was no reason to question it, especially when the race could easily be rated higher.

It is entirely possible that SPEECHMAKER may have run to the 72 which she achieved second time out (which would have WORLD RADAR running to 113) or the 75 which she ran to in her third and fourth starts, which would have WORLD RADAR achieving a mark of 116.   It is in this light that a rating of 105 is considered conservative, but the Handicappers also took into account the fact that it was run on soft going when opting not to go for a higher option.

Note that all Merit Ratings reflected above incorporate the 5 pound increase which was made to the provisional ratings of all 2-year-olds of the 2018/2019 season, effective 1 August 2019.

The National Horseracing Authority confirms that an Inquiry will be opened into Jockey Muzi Yeni’s comments made in an interview after Race 4 at Greyville Racecourse on 31 July 2019.


The National Horseracing Authority has just been advised that, in the International Laboratory Proficiency Testing Program conducted during 2019 by the Association of Official Racing Chemists, its Laboratory has again obtained a perfect score of 100% in detecting prohibited substance at the required sensitivities in blind urine as well as blood specimens.

In a separate International Testing Program over the last 12 months, negative NHA racing specimens were re-analysed at several overseas racing laboratories. This external testing confirmed that these specimens did not contain any prohibited substances. The NHA Laboratory also achieved a perfect score of 100% in this program.

The National Horseracing Authority’s Laboratory complies with the ISO/IEC 17025 which is the world quality standard for chemical and biological testing laboratories and it complies with the racing standard ILAC-G7 (Accreditation Requirements and Operating Criteria for Horseracing Laboratories). In this regard, it is audited annually by the South African National Accreditation System.

The Laboratory acts as a confirmatory laboratory for racing jurisdictions such as France, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom which clearly demonstrates their confidence that it can confirm prohibited substances which their laboratories detect.

In discussing the Laboratory’s achievements Vee Moodley, the Chief Executive of The National Horseracing Authority, said, “Our laboratory, despite its modest size and limited budget, is internationally respected for its standards and capabilities. It has the demonstrated capability of confirming the presence of prohibited substances which can be found by the other top equine forensic laboratories in the world. People involved in racing, both locally and internationally, can be assured that our capabilities are world class”.


As previously reported, The National Horseracing Authority collected blood samples from Vodacom Durban July runners on Friday, 5 July 2019.

These blood specimens were analysed by the NHA Laboratory and were all reported as prohibited substance negative specimens on 25 July 2019.

These blood specimens were comprehensively screened for substances which are indicative of Anabolic Steroid, ACTH, Growth Hormone and Erythropoietin (EPO) use.

  • World Sports Betting Champions Cup (Grade 1)

RAINBOW BRIDGE remains unchanged on a Merit Rating of 124 after his victory in the Grade 1 World Sports Betting Champion Stakes at Greyville on Saturday 27 July.   The Handicappers used the three-year-olds SOQRAT and TWIST OF FATE as the line horses to rate this WFA event, which in fact sees RAINBOW BRIDGE (who hung badly down the straight) running to 122, but his rating has been left unchanged.

The line horses remain unaltered.  Fourth placed CIRILLO drops from 121 to 119, whereas fifth placed BUFFALO BILL CODY was upped from 114 to 115, which is what he actually achieved when winning a pinnacle plate in his last start.  In the only other change, MATADOR MAN was cut from 112 to 111. 

  • The Mercury Sprint (Grade 1)

KASIMIR has had his Merit Rating increased from 117 to 118 after he captured the WFA Mercury Sprint over 1200m at Greyville on Saturday.  Here, the Handicappers agreed that ultra-consistent BOLD RESPECT was the correct line horse to use in assessing the race and as such his rating remains untouched on 112.  Runner-up CELTIC SEA was also left unchanged on 115.

Third placed PALACE CHAPEL was increased from 107 to 112.  Fifth placed AFRICA RISING and sixth placed VAN HALEN also both go up to 112, from 107 and 110 respectively.  The only other change was to last placed VISION TO KILL, who was dropped from 105 to 102.

  • The eLan Gold Cup (Grade 3)

DYNASTY’S BLOSSOM has seen her rating increased from 93 to 99 after she captured the Grade 3 eLan Gold Cup over 3200m at Greyville on Saturday.  Here, runner-up MADE TO CONQUER and third placed DOUBLEMINT were both used as line horses, so accordingly their ratings remain unchanged.  In rating the race this way, GIMME ONE NIGHT also runs to his rating and effectively becomes a line horse as well.

Fourth placed ALI BON DUBAI was upped from 92 to 95, while the only drops were made to the ratings of STRATHDON and SECRET POTION, who both drop to 99 from pre-Gold Cup marks of 101.

  • Gold Bracelet (Grade 2)

RUNNING BRAVE remains unchanged on a rating of 104 after she held off all challengers to win the Grade 2 Gold Bracelet for fillies and mares over 2000m at Greyville on Saturday.   Here, third placed INSIGNIS and fourth placed SABINA’S DYNASTY were used as the line horses and accordingly remain unchanged.  On the other hand, runner-up CAMPHORATUS goes up from 105 to 108.

Fifth placed ROY’S RIVIERA was increased from 97 to 99, while in the only other change sixth placed LADY IN BLACK was dropped from 110 to 108.

  • Marshall Security Darley Arabian (Handicap)

PILOU has had his rating increased from 97 to 99 after he won the Listed Marshall Security Darley Arabian (handicap) over 1600m at Greyville on Saturday.  Third placed SILVA’S BULLET and fourth placed RUN RED were used as the line horses and remain unchanged, while no change was also made to the runner-up ELUSIVE HEART.

Drops were made to the ratings of D’ARRIVEE (90 to 89), Sniper Shot (102 to 100), and THANKSGIVING, who dropped from 102 to 98.

  • Epol Umngeni Handicap (Listed)

SUNSET EYES has had his rating raised from 100 to 105 after his easy success in the Listed Epol Umngeni Handicap over 1000m at Greyville on Saturday.  Consistent runner-up FILIPPO was used as the line horse here and as such his rating remains unchanged.

Third placed NEPTUNE’S RAIN was dropped from 102 to 101, while in other drops ATTENBOROUGH goes from 102 to 100, KISSABLE was cut from 83 to 81, and TOWNSHIP MELODY goes from 89 to 87.


 • Final Fling Stakes (Grade 3)

PLATINUM CLASS remains unchanged on a merit rating of 98 after her comfortable defeat of five rivals in the Grade 3 Final Fling Stakes for fillies and mares over 1800m at Kenilworth on Saturday 20 July. The Handicappers felt that the consistent runner-up LIBRA was the correct line horse to use, and so she remains unchanged as well on 89. In rating the race this way, the winner in fact runs to only 94, four pounds below her rating of 98, but PLATINUM CLASS did achieve 98 when winning a Listed race three weeks earlier and so remains on that mark.Third placed GLAMOROUS LIFE was raised from 78 to 81 and accordingly would meet fourth placed PEARL JAM (whom she beat by four pounds here and who remains unchanged on 77) on the correct terms if they were to meet in a handicap. In other changes, MISS KATALIN drops from 91 to 88 and CORAL BAY goes from 84 to 81. 

• Champagne Stakes (Grade 3)
NASTERGAL has seen her rating upped from 88 to 93 after she won the Grade 3 Champagne Stakes for fillies and mares over 1200m at Kenilworth on Saturday. Here the Handicappers applied some discretion, for in using runner-up OSTINATO as the line horse NASTERGAL actually runs to 95. However, the race was run at a crawl in the early stages and NASTERGAL was enterprisingly ridden to pinch a break at the right time, and it is felt that she is probably flattered by the bare numbers. Hence, she was given some leeway.
OSTINATO as the line horse remains unchanged, while third placed CROWDED HOUSE was upped from 77 to 83 (a rating she raced off for much of the early part of the current season.) Fourth placed TOO PHAT TO FLY was dropped from 94 to 91, which is the only other change made to any runners in this race.


Over the past few seasons it has been observed that a general decline in the Merit Ratings of South African domiciled horses was occurring, and that the trend has continued despite the “blanket” six pounds raise to all Merit Ratings which came into effect in March 2018. This is particularly true at the lower end of the spectrum, where some 75% of the horse population are rated 72 and below. The above observations were discussed extensively during the 2019 Handicappers Roadshow.

Effects of the Guidelines and Slippage Factor:

In large part, the problem of “slippage” in the overall Ratings has been exacerbated by Handicapping guidelines which were designed to severely limit increases in horses’ Ratings thereby ‘protecting’ improving horses and which in turn, as a compensatory measure, resulted in a more vigorous approach towards dropping the Ratings of struggling horses in a bid to equalise the Handicapping as much as possible. This practice resulted in 75% of the Horse Population being rated below 72 thus causing an extreme imbalance (or congestion) in the National Merit Ratings Pyramid and consequentially to the National Race Programme.

Current Handicapping Philosophy:

Since January 2019, the NHA have adopted a more accountable and pure Handicapping philosophy by reverting to, where possible, assessing horses on their performance and not on other (often irrelevant) criteria as promulgated by the Guidelines, but the damage had already been done. This current philosophy of handicapping horses more accurately in terms of their actual achievements should ensure that there will not be such a rapid decline in the overall Ratings again in future and, where possible (except where local operators conditions limit the Handicappers), a horse’s published or official Merit Rating would reflect the Handicappers’ assessments of a horse’s ability.

National Horseracing Population Merit Rating Adjustment:

Accordingly, it was proposed by the NHA Handicapping team, and largely agreed upon at the Roadshows, that another increase in Domestic Merit Ratings be considered in order to balance the Population’s Merit Ratings and the Race Programme as well as alleviate any further degeneration of the Population’s Merit Ratings. This proposal was ratified by the National Board and will come into effect on 1 August 2019. It has been agreed that the Domestic Merit Ratings of all horses domiciled in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape will be increased by 10 pounds.

Eastern Cape:

Horses domiciled in the Eastern Cape will have their Merit Ratings increased by 5 pounds. This decision was taken in light of the Eastern Cape racing centre being a victim of the ‘creep factor’. An Eastern Cape horse will be defined, for the purposes of the adjustment, as any horse domiciled and trained in the Eastern Cape that has had two of its last three starts in Eastern Cape.

Northern Cape and Zimbabwe:

The same definition of what constitutes domiciles will be applied to horses based in the Northern Cape and Zimbabwe, but no increase will be implemented in the Merit Ratings of horses in those regions.

Merit Ratings and the Race Programme:

This increase will have the highly desirable effect of uncluttering the lowest divisions as well as helping to boost the higher divisions, where races often attract small fields or fall away altogether due to insufficient entries. Horses at the bottom of the Ratings’ spectrum will also find it much easier to get into races than is presently the case, where they are regularly eliminated or have no option but to contest races which are too strong for them. The National Race Programme, as confirmed by the Racing Operators, will be adjusted to accommodate the impending Merit Rating increase and should ensure a balance between the Merit Ratings and the National Race Programme.

International Merit Ratings:

It should be noted that the increase will only affect Domestic Merit Ratings and not the International Ratings of South African trained horses. The International Ratings of South African trained horses are done by the World’s Best Racehorse Ratings Committee.

Handicapping Methodology and Updated Guidelines:

A Handicapping Methodology Guide as well as the updated Handicapping Guidelines will be published by the NHA on implementation of the abovementioned National Merit Rating increase.