After a lengthy discussion between the NHA Handicappers, HAWWAAM has had his merit rating increased from 112 to 121 following his runaway success in the Grade 1 SA Classic at Turffontein on Saturday 2 March 2019.

The Handicappers were in full agreement that runner-up BARAHIN is the correct line horse to use in assessing the SA Classic as it was felt that there is no likelihood that he would have run below what he achieved when finishing third in the Grade 2 Gauteng Guineas at his previous start. HAWWAAM was simply in a different division to the Classic field in his first attempt at 1800m and the Handicappers are more than satisfied that he is well worth his new 121 rating.

Third placed NATIONAL PARK remains on 117 following his success in the Gauteng Guineas, while fourth placed ZILLZAAL also stays unchanged on the 106 he was given after the Gauteng Guineas. Several of the unplaced horses were given a rating drop. OWLINTHETREE goes to 99 from 102, ALYAASAAT goes to 105 from 108, and ROLL OF DRUMS drops from 84 to 82.

The Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic required considerably more discussion, but it was agreed that the winner RETURN FLIGHT’s rating will be increased from 102 to 105. It was decided that given the fact that RETURN FLIGHT was allowed to dictate her own pace in a slow-run race (the time for the 1800m was almost 3 seconds slower than that of the Classic won by HAWWAAM) it would be imprudent to over-react by rating the Fillies Classic too highly.

The Fillies Classic was rated using sixth placed RUNNING BRAVE to her published mark of 99 as it was felt that she had not equalled the 102 she actually achieved when finishing second behind NAFAAYES in the Grade 2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas. By rating the race this way, NAFAAYES runs to the mark of 103 she achieved in winning the Fillies Guineas. For the time being, NAFAAYES’ rating has been dropped from 109 to 107, and it is believed that by having NAFAAYES still rated higher than RETURN FLIGHT it has been taken into account that RETURN FLIGHT may be a little flattered by having so clearly enjoyed the run of the race in the Fillies Classic.

Third placed BLOSSOM has had her rating increased from 88 to 103, while fourth finisher STORM DESTINY goes from 95 to 102. Fifth placed PERFECT TIGRESS was given a partial upwards adjustment from 90 to 95. There were no other ratings changes in the Fillies Classic.

ZOUAVES has seen his rating increased from 104 to 109 following his win the Grade 2 Hawaii Stakes. ZOUAVES actually achieved a rating of 109 when he won a pinnacle stakes over the same course-and-distance on 6 January this year, but he could only be raised to 104 as the winner of a plated non-feature race cannot be adjusted upwards by more than six points. However, it is extremely unlikely that in winning a Grade 2 race less than two months later ZOUAVES would have run to a level below what he achieved there. It was noted that runner-up CASCAPEDIA was hanging in badly and accordingly it would over-inflate the race if she were to be the line horse. No changes were made to the ratings of any of the placed horses. 

HIGH SEAS BEAUTY’s rating has been adjusted from 83 to 88 after her win in the Grade 3 Acacia Handicap. It was felt that third placed CASHEL PALACE was the appropriate line horse and as such runner-up ANNEKA received a small raise from 88 to 87. Fourth placed TAMARINA remains unchanged

 The Racing Operator, Phumelela, has fulfilled the following requirements of the NHA:

1. That the Sectional Timing information captured at race meetings from horses carrying Sectional Timing devices during races is freely available and is in the public domain for at least 48 hours after it has been published on

2. The Sectional Timing information has been verified and the NHA has confirmation from at least 10 trainers within the Central Provinces region that they are satisfied with this information. The NHA is also satisfied that the final race times derived from these devices are consistent with the traditional race timing results.

Based on the above, with effect from 2 March 2019, Racing Operators’ Condition 13 will be enforced by the NHA.


13.1 Any Horse or Rider that has been declared/entered to run in a Race shall be equipped with a sectional timing device as determined by the Operator.

13.2 It shall be an offence prosecutable in terms of the Rules of The National Horseracing Authority, for any person to remove, tamper or interfere in any form or manner with any sectional timing equipment.

13.3 Any horse which fails to carry a sectional timing device as contemplated in condition 13.1 above, shall be withdrawn from such Race.

The World’s Best Racehorse Rankings Committee (WBRRC) welcomes The National Horseracing Authority’s Senior Handicapper, Mr Lennon Maharaj, as the South African representative. Lennon attended his first Committee meeting in Hong Kong during the month of December 2018 which was held under the auspices of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) and comprised of Racing Officials and Handicappers representing the five continents. WBRRC Co-Chairman Mr Nigel Gray said that, “it was a pleasure to work with Lennon at the annual meeting of the WBRRC last December and said that he is looking forward to the South African Handicapper’s contributions during 2019, and in the years to come”.

The rankings are based on the performance of horses in races held during the calendar year (1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018) and takes in account the quality of opposition and achievements of each horse. Below is the final rankings for 2018 of the world’s top 10 racehorses as well as South Africa’s Top 10 Horses based on International Ratings as agreed on by the WBRRC.

LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings
Leading Horses for 2018
Rank Horse Rating Trained
1 WINX (AUS) 130 AUS
8 ENABLE (GB) 125 GB


South Africa’s Top 10 Horses for 2018 as at 31 December 2018
Rank Horse Rating
6 SOQRAT (AUS) 117



The National Horseracing Authority confirms that Trainer Mr Tobie Spies was afforded the opportunity to make representations to Executive Management of the NHA on Tuesday, 19 February 2019. This was in relation to certain allegations made against the legitimacy of his training operations in South Africa. The allegations related to his satellite training yards in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town being operated by people to train horses under his name and licence, as a racehorse trainer, (“training under the lap”).

Mr Spies provided documentation and supporting evidence proving that the allegations were false and that he employs licenced Assistant Trainers and Stable Employees in the said training yards to run operations in his absence. The NHA confirms that Trainer Spies has the necessary registered licensed individuals to take care of the operations. As he is domiciled in Gauteng and attends most frequently to his training operation based at the Vaal Racecourse, the NHA advised him that he should ensure that he undertakes more frequent visits, particularly to his satellite yard in Port Elizabeth. This will be monitored by NHA Executive Management and the local Stipendiary Boards.

The Equine Influenza cases that were reported from the UK on 7 February 2019 and current updates, have revealed the following.  According to the BHA’s Veterinary Committee and their team of competent Veterinarians, they confirmed that the Equine Influenza virus is the “Florida Clade 1” strain, which is endemic to North and South America.  According to the BHA’s Veterinary Committee this is different from the “Clade 2” strain that is endemic to Europe.

In South Africa we vaccinate utilising vaccines that mostly contain these abovementioned strains.  The difference with our vaccination protocol is that we vaccinate our race horses every six months, in order to ensure that we may avoid an outbreak. 

Horses being imported into South Africa from these countries are tested for Equine Influenza during their 30 day quarantine period prior to departure, and thereafter, a further 30 day quarantine period after arrival in South Africa.

As a precautionary measure we advise that strict biosecurity measures be applied to all persons coming into contact with thoroughbreds,  especially from these affected regions.

 An independent panel consisting of Messrs K Miedema, R S Napier and R Smith convened on 14 February 2019 by teleconference to hear a MR Appeal lodged by Mr Robert Bloomberg on behalf of Messrs Mike De Kock (ATYAAB (AUS)), Brett Crawford, (CHARLES) and Justin Snaith (BUNKER HUNT) against the penalties and subsequent increased Merit Ratings allocated to their respective horses following the running of the G-Bets Cape Derby (Grade 1) at Kenilworth Racecourse on Saturday 26 January 2019.

The Appeal Panel was of the opinion that the G-Bets Cape Derby (Grade 1) presented abnormal conditions and to comply with the guideline imposed on the Handicappers to select a line horse that finished in the first five positions, was extremely difficult.  The Appeal Panel after careful deliberation decided that the quality of the entire race had to be considered and as a result upheld the Appeal and amended the Merit Ratings to:

              ATYAAB (AUS) – 105  previously (109)

              CHARLES – 104 previously (108)

              HERODOTUS – 101 previously (105)

              BUNKER HUNT ­ 100 previously (104)

The deposit fee will be refunded.

Local horseracing results webpage has now been added and is live on the NHA website.  The results page is interactive and form analysis can be done at a click of the mouse. 

The Handicappers’ Line Horse is also highlighted on this page, as well as consequential merit rating adjustments.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open website.
  2. Click on Racing Information tab.
  3. Click on Racing Results.
  4. Enter date of race meeting required.

For any other further comments/suggestions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

With the resignation of Mr J J (Hannes) du Toit on 14 January 2019 with immediate effect, a position became vacant on the National Board of Directors of The National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa (the NHA).  In terms of Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the NHA, the Nominations Committee has appointed Mrs Susan Rowett to fill the vacancy on the National Board in terms of clause 15.1.1 of the Constitution.  This appointment is effective from 1 February 2019. 

Mrs Rowett holds a Master of Jurisprudence degree and a Master of Management degree and is a Director of a multinational packaging company.  As a Thoroughbred Racehorse Breeder and Owner, Mrs Rowett has been actively involved in the Horseracing Industry in South Africa for forty years.

Mrs Rowett has served as Chairperson on various Boards within the Horseracing Industry and previously served as a National Board Director from November 2012 until April 2016 when the Constitution of the NHA was amended, at a Special General Meeting, in order to restructure the National Board.

The Sun Met 

Following careful analysis by Handicappers Lennon Maharaj, Matthew Lips and Vee Moodley, RAINBOW BRIDGE has seen an increase in his merit rating from 119 to 124 following his triumph in the Grade 1 Sun Met at Kenilworth on Saturday 26 January. 

It was unanimously agreed amongst the handicapping panel that the correct line horse to use as a means of rating the Sun Met was 4th placed UNDERCOVER AGENT.  While he was trying the distance of 2 000m for the first time, it was noted that UNDERCOVER AGENT and 5th placed LEGAL EAGLE finished virtually alongside each other for the third time in succession, having done so too in the Green Point Stakes and later in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.   This remarkable consistency shown by both horses at the highest level led to the strong conclusion that UNDERCOVER AGENT would not have run below his best in the Sun Met and that he is therefore a logical choice of line horse. 

Thus, RAINBOW BRIDGE is now rated 124, while runner-up DO IT AGAIN (who was second last at the 400m mark) remains a 125 despite this defeat, based on his impressive Queen’s Plate win.  HEAD HONCHO, who made a brave attempt to win the Met with pillar-to-post tactics, is now rated 122, up from his pre-Met rating of 114.  He has clearly more than confirmed the promise he showed when a runaway winner of the Gr 2 Premier Trophy in December.  In rating HEAD HONCHO 122, the handicappers took into account that he had over-raced for much of the 2 000m distance and that he had hung out visibly on the bend, so it is believed to have been a run full of merit and worthy of a 122 rating, LEGAL EAGLE’s rating has been dropped from 121 to 120, which is his season’s best mark, achieved when winning the Green Point Stakes.  In other changes, TAP O’NOTH’s rating drops from 112 to 110, 2018 Sun Met winner OH SUSANNA’s rating has been trimmed from 121 to 119, and HAT PUNTANO drops to 106 from 109.


Betting World Cape Flying Championship 

KASIMIR’s rating was upped from 111 to 117 after he comfortably landed the day’s first Grade 1 event, the Cape Flying Championship over 1000m.  Here, 5th placed TRIP TO HEAVEN was used as the line horse.  TRIP TO HEAVEN has consistently shown a similar level of form in major sprint races all around South Africa for a number of years, and it is reasonable to believe that he once again ran his usual race here.  

KASIMIR has been clearly progressive in Cape Town this season and was able to win despite meeting several horses on less favourable weight terms than in several recent encounters.  This was certainly a career-best effort, and a six pound raise in his rating reflects that.   Runner-up BOLD RESPECT, who was comfortably beaten by KASIMIR again despite meeting that rival on 6.5 kgs better terms for a 2.75 lengths beating in the Gr 2 Merchants at Kenilworth last November, has been dropped from 118 to 116 to have him rated below KASIMIR.

Third placed SEARCH PARTY goes up from 106 to 112, while 4th finisher PACIFIC TRADER also goes to 112 from a pre-race mark of 110.   In other changes, ATTENBOROUGH was dropped from 112 to 110, 2018 Cape Flying Championship winner SERGEANT HARDY drops from 115 to 112 on the back of numerous below-par efforts, DUTCH PHILP was trimmed from 107 to 106, and ROCKY VALLEY goes to 99 from 101. 


GBets Cape Derby 

ATYAAB saw his rating climb from 92 to 109 after he won the GBets Cape Derby.   Here, the Handicappers were of the opinion that 3rd placed HERODOTUS would not have run worse than when he finished 4th in the Gr 2 Concord Cup won by ONE WORLD last November and used that as a key to rate the Derby.  In rating the Derby this way, 5th placed HELEN’S IDEAL runs to the same level of 98 that she achieved when she finished 7th in the Cape Fillies Guineas behind FRONT AND CENTRE in December.  There is thus a very neat correlation between the form behind top colt ONE WORLD and top filly FRONT AND CENTRE, and ATYAAB is clearly a progressive colt whose rating is befitting of a Grade 1 winner. 

Derby runner-up CHARLES was raised from a rating of 94 to 108, while line horse HERODOTUS now has a rating of 105, which is reflective of his ability and is not subject to the Handicapping guidelines which prevented his rating from being increased to what he actually achieved in the Concord Cup.   Derby 4th BUNKER HUNT has had his rating upped from 93 to 104.  The only horse whose rating dropped as a result of the Derby is PERPETUAL FLAME, who goes from 84 to 80. 


Bidvest Majorca Stakes 

CLOUDS UNFOLD was raised from a rating of 109 to 115 after she reversed Cape Fillies Guineas form with hitherto unbeaten FRONT AND CENTRE by winning the Bidvest Majorca Stakes.  Here, the Handicappers were of the unanimous opinion that 4th placed FRESNAYE should be used as the line horse to assess the race, having also finished 4th in the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes at her previous start three weeks earlier.   In that race FRESNAYE was also beaten by LADY IN BLACK, who beat the line horse again in the Majorca Stakes by finishing 2ndLADY IN  BLACK’s rating remains unchanged on 117. 

3rd placed FRONT AND CENTRE has had her rating upped from 110 to 112 .  In other changes, last year’s Majorca Stakes winner SNOWDANCE was dropped from 114 to 112, and FIORELLA drops from 106 to 104. 


CTS 1200 and CTS 1600 

In conclusion, it is noted that the Handicappers’ assessment was vindicated in both of the day’s other R5 million races when the top rated horse won each of the CTS sales events, CIRILLO (rated 111) in the 1200m race and ONE WORLD (rated 117) in the 1600m event, where he and runner-up TWIST OF FATE (rated 115) confirmed their ratings perfectly.  These horses thus confirmed the form they had shown throughout the Cape summer racing season.

RACE 7 : INTERBET.CO.ZA 0861 150 160 PINNACLE STAKES : 1000M (K280) : KENILWORTH : 29/12/2018

Jockey O Noach (SPEEDPOINT) reported that this colt did not stride out freely in running. The Veterinary Surgeon was requested to examine the colt on its return to the unsaddling enclosure and submit a report. The Veterinary Surgeon confirmed that SPEEDPOINT (O Noach) returned not striding out.

SPEEDPOINT is carded to run in Race 6 on Saturday 26 January 2019. 


RACE 6 : SUPABETS 0861 76 22 37 MR 86 HANDICAP : 1000M (K270) : KENILWORTH : 22/12/2018

In view of the performance from MAC ‘N SCAR (S Veale) (8.20 lengths), the Veterinary Surgeon was requested to examine the gelding on its return to the unsaddling enclosure and submit a report.  The Veterinary Surgeon reported that MAC ‘N SCAR (S Veale) returned not striding out in front.

MAC ‘N SCAR is carded to run in Race 12 on Saturday 26 January 2019.