South Africa horseracing suspended due to coronavirus lockdown

Leaders of the South African horseracing industry met on Tuesday, March 24 in the wake of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s nationwide lockdown announcement last night and have formed a special task team to navigate the sport through the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

The task team comprises representatives from Phumelela Gaming, Gold Circle, Kenilworth Racing, the Racing Association and the National Horseracing Authority (NHA), which is charged with regulating the industry.

Racing has been taking place behind closed doors since last week and in line with the President’s ruling last night, the task team has confirmed that the race meeting at the Vaal this Thursday 26 March will be the last until further notice.

Every endeavour would be made to resume racing when the current lockdown ends on 17 April, but  any such resumption would obviously take place behind closed doors and conform to any restrictions and requirements laid down by Government.

If racing does resume then, it is planned to hold a major raceday at Turffontein on Saturday 18 April, when the programme will comprise the best feature races programmed during the lockdown period, as well as the Empress Club Stakes already scheduled for that day.

In the Western Cape the Klawervlei Farm Sales Race programmed for 28 March at Durbanville will also need to be rescheduled. In addition consideration will be given to rescheduling Listed races not run in the Eastern Cape during the lockdown.

Should racing not be able to restart at the end of the current lockdown period and Champions Day, one of the big four racedays on the national calendar, cannot take place as scheduled on 2 May, it is likely that all feature races not run as a result of the lockdown will be cancelled for this year.