South Africa Racing to Recommence May 1st
The South Africa Racing Association and the National Horseracing Authority met recently to discuss the future of the industry in the shadow of COVID-19. The SA government recently announced its intention to extend lockdown until the end of April and the stakeholders in the racing industry felt the need to step in and mitigate the losses incurred due to the virus.
The groups updated the industry with the news that they plan to recommence racing in South Africa on May 1st, 2020, as long as two important conditions are met. The first is that the national lockdown has been lifted by then, and the second is that racing is allowed to resume with enough betting revenues flowing to the operators.
According to the update, the South African Horseracing Authority will be presenting its requests to the government of behalf of the industry. It will ask for racing to be resumed once lockdown is lifted and will conform to any restrictions that the government sees fit to implement.
Since the industry has lost five weeks of South African horse racing, operators have agreed to push the National Feature Race Programme back a month. This means that important meetings will have their dates changed this year.
The Vodacom Durban July, for example, one of the biggest horse racing events in Africa, is usually held on the first Saturday of the month. However, this year, it has been agreed that it will be held on the last Saturday of July.
The Gold Cup meeting, traditionally held at the end of July at Greyville, will be held at the end of August instead.
If all goes according to plan, racing will resume in the Western Cape on May 2nd, with the scheduling of the several events such as the Variety Cup Mile and the Sweet Chestnut Stakes. The Gold Circle event will shift its night meeting to Sunday, May 3rd.