After discussion between Handicappers, CAMPHORATUS had her rating increased from 95 to 105 following her last-stride win in the Grade 1 Empress Club Stakes over 1600m at Turffontein (standside) on Saturday 13th April. There is no reason to doubt CAMPHORATUS’ performance as she did win the Grade 3 Flamboyant Stakes at Greyville in December and she has now won in her first attempt at Grade 1 level.

In assessing the race, it was agreed that the right key horse to use was third placed NAFAAYES to the 103 she actually achieved when she won the Grade 2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas (over the same course-and-distance as the Empress Club Stakes) and again when she finished second in the Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic. NAFAAYES has been highly consistent and seems to be a logical choice of line horse.

RUNNING BRAVE goes up from 99 to 104 after she finished a close second in the Empress Club. She had finished behind NAFAAYES in both the Gauteng Fillies Guineas and in the SA Fillies Classic and it seems obvious enough that she must have run a better race here. NAFAAYES was dropped from 107 to 106 and is now the equal of 5th placed CELTIC SEA (whom she also beat in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas).

In other changes, OH SUSANNA was dropped from 119 to 118 and so remains higher than LADY IN BLACK (117), who finished 2nd behind OH SUSANNA in the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes during the Cape summer season. FIORELLA drops from 102 to 100, FRESNAYE was dropped from 110 to 108 following two below-par efforts since she arrived on the Highveld. GHAALLA has been dropped from 102 to 100, CASCAPEDIA goes from 109 to 107, and AL DANZA has had her rating cut from 104 to 102. 

Following the legislation passed on 1 November 2018 [Regulation (EU) 2016/1012 [Article 34], the General Stud Book of Southern Africa applied for recognition in January 2019 and the application was approved on 26 February 2019. On 3 April 2019 South Africa was included on the list of breeding bodies published under Articles 34(1) and 64(4) of Regulation (EU) 2016/1012 [Article 34].

The legislation states that, if not listed, horses of that country are not allowed to enter any EU-country or to be registered in that country. For example, a Thoroughbred exported from South Africa to France will not be allowed to enter France as a Thoroughbred from South Africa if South Africa is not listed, furthermore, this horse will not be permitted to be registered in the French Thoroughbred Stud Book.

• Colorado King Stakes (Grade 2)
After thorough discussion between the NHA Handicappers, DIVINE ODYSSEY was given a new merit rating of 105 following his very easy win in the Grade 2 Colorado King Stakes at Turffontein on Saturday 6th April.
The Handicappers agreed that 4th placed CASH TIME was the correct line horse to use to rate the race, especially as he had been beaten by virtually the identical margin by DIVINE ODYSSEY when finishing fourth behind the Colorado King winner in the Drum Star Handicap in March. DIVINE ODYSSEY has clearly come to form, winning two successive Pattern Races, beating many of the same horses at worse weight terms on this occasion. His superiority over these horses can no longer be in doubt and as such he is fully worthy of the 10 pound adjustment from a rating of 95 to 105.
Runner-up THE DAZZLER goes up from 94 to 99, while third placed DAWN ASSAULT remains unchanged. The only other changes are that SECRET POTION has dropped from 107 to 102, and SOCIAL ORDER has been trimmed from 103 to 101. 

• Sycamore Sprint (Grade 3)
SAN FERMIN was given a three pound increase from 93 to 96 following her success in the Grade 3 Sycamore Sprint (handicap) over 1160m. It was noted that SAN FERMIN had some difficulty in securing a clear run before flashing up late to win, and it is believed that in other circumstances the winning margin may well have been a little more than the official 0.30 lengths. As such, SAN FERMIN was given a three pound rise instead of the minimum two pound increase that is mandatory for any handicap race win.

Runner-up SCHIPPERS has been highly consistent in races of this type and was considered to make for an ideal line horse. Third placed DANCING QUEEN remains unchanged on 93, while fourth placed DESERT RHYTHM was another of those horses who was baulked for a run for some considerable distance. As such, it is believed that she may well have otherwise finished closer and her rating remains unchanged.

Other changes made after this race were that COVERED IN SNOW drops from 94 to 93, LAWDY MISS CLAWDY goes down from 90 to 89, and PRETTY PENNY has been dropped from 92 to 90. 

• Umzimkhulu Stakes (Grade 3)
TEMPLE GRAFIN saw her rating increase from 101 to 107 after she defied joint top weight to win the Grade 3 Umzimkhulu Stakes over 1400m at Greyville (turf) on Sunday 7th April. This was considered to be an impressive performance against some smart opponents, of whom the runner-up SANTA CLARA was used as the line horse. This way, TEMPLE GRAFIN emerges from the race rated higher than 3rd placed MARY’S PRIDE, who received 1.5 kgs from the winner and whose rating remains unchanged on 106.

Fourth placed PARENTAL CONTROL has clearly relished racing beyond sprint distances and had rating upped from 86 to 91, so that she would meet 5th placed ANNEKA (unchanged on 88) on the correct weight terms if they were to meet in a handicap. In similar vein, 7th placed SILENT CRUSADE goes from 83 to 87 and would meet 9th finisher STRAWBERRY WINE (who goes up from 80 to 82) on the correct weight terms in a handicap.

The only other change was ARIANOS SHADOW, who was dropped from 95 to 93. 

• Byerley Turk (Grade 3)
TRISTFUL has seen his rating increased from 86 to 94 after he comfortably won the Grade 3 Byerley Turk, also over 1400m on the Greyville turf. The Handicappers felt that in readily winning a Grade 3 race TRISTFUL would not have run worse than the 94 he actually achieved when winning a progress plate over the same course-and-distance on 17th March and accordingly used that achieved mark to rate the Byerley Turk.

Runner-up and long-time leader SOLID GOLD goes up from 83 to 90 and third placed TRIPLE FATE LINE was upped from 80 to 87, which would ensure that these two horses would meet on the correct weight terms if they were to take each other on in a handicap race. In other changes, GENEROUS LADY drops to 93 from 95, DESOLATE ROAD was cut from 96 to 93 and is accordingly now rated lower than his winning stable companion TRISTFUL, and STREAM AHEAD drops to 82 from 85.

The Handicappers are well aware of the very large 13 pound difference between the rating of the filly TEMPLE GRAFIN and that of the gelding TRISTFUL. However, in the Umzimkhulu Stakes there were more runners with established Graded race form than in the Byerley Turk. Furthermore, TEMPLE GRAFIN won with joint top weight of 60kgs as opposed to the Byerley Turk, where all the male runners met at level weights. Finally, it must be borne in mind that the first three finishers in the Byerley Turk were amongst the lower rated horses in the race, which is in total contrast to the Umzimkhulu Stakes.

The National Horseracing Authority is pleased to confirm that it has tested the state-of-the-art Hawk-Eye Smart Replay video technology system over the past 3 weeks, which is ready to be utilised to officiate at race meetings on the Highveld racing jurisdictions.

The Hawk-Eye technology is currently used in a number of sports, like cricket and soccer around the world. Other Racing jurisdictions, like Australia, have utilised this equipment for a number of years, which has assisted its Officials to base their final decisions using this modern technology.

A few examples of the features that Hawk-Eye offers are the ability to review four different angles simultaneously, the zooming in of the footage of an incident, filing of similar incidents into one file and to bookmark an area of the race for a seamless review when required. Another wonderful feature is that Hawk-Eye does not stop recording from the start of the race meeting until the conclusion of the meeting, all in High Definition.

The introduction of Hawk-Eye can only benefit the regulation of the Sport of Horse Racing, which demands the highest standards relating to integrity, rider safety and horse welfare. The National Horseracing Authority looks forward to the future introduction of Hawk-Eye to other provinces.

• SA Derby (Grade 1)

After a thorough assessment and discussion between the NHA Handicappers, SAMURAI WARRIOR was given a merit rating of 105 following his front running victory under a masterful ride from Jockey Piere Strydom in the SA Derby (Grade 1) at Turffontein on Saturday 30 March 2019 over 2450m. Ironically he was the only participant in the race that had contested over this aptitude twice before and was also placed in the listed event. The Handicappers are satisfied that the new rating is a fair reflection of SAMURAI WARRIOR’S performance and the race level is still 10 MR points below the international threshold for a Grade 1 race.

In analysing what appeared to be a race run at a slow pace, the handicappers were of the opinion that third placed MARCHINGONTOGETHER would not have run worse by finishing third at Grade 1 level than when he won a non-black type Feature at Scottsville in February. Accordingly, it was this performance by MARCHINGONTOGETHER that was used as the line to rate the SA Derby. This equates to MARCHINGONTOGETHER running to a rating of 102 in the Derby, and this is the rating that has been allocated to him. Derby runner-up ZILLZAAL had his rating dropped from 106 to 105, thus making him equal to the winner.

Fourth placed ATYAAB’S rating remains unchanged on the 105 he was made after he won the Cape Derby two starts back. As a recent Grade 1 winner who may not have been entirely suited to the pace at which the SA Derby was run, it is believed that it would be premature to drop his mark for now.

In other changes, SENOR LIZARD was raised from 85 to 88, ARLINGTONS REVENGE goes up from 80 to 84, MASTER MAGIC was raised from 80 to 84, ZANAKI goes up from 78 to 83, and LAST OF THE LEGEND was upped from 78 to 81. These horses finished from 5th place to 9th, and in doing this it is ensured that these five horses would meet one another on the correct weight terms in a handicap race. This satisfies the definition of a handicap. The only other change was OWLINTHETREE, whose rating was cut from 99 to 91. 

• H F Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes (Grade 1)

SOQRAT remains unchanged on a rating of 124 after his win in the Grade 1 Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m. This performance confirms SOQRAT’S status as the best three-year-old colt over 1600m presently in training, but it was felt that he by no means needed to improve on his 124 rating to win this race. It was fourth placed TILBURY FORT who was used the line horse to rate this race.

The strength of the three-year-old crop was greatly underlined in the Horse Chestnut Stakes, with CIRILLO beaten less than one length into second and finishing well ahead of the older horses. This looks to be an outstanding crop of three-year-old males, and in the wake of this performance CIRILLO’S rating has been upped from 111 to 114.

The Handicappers took into consideration that UNAGI is a 5 year old that has not been able to win for almost 2 years and only adjusted him to 106 and not the 110 he achieved. In other changes, CASCAPEDIA was dropped from 110 to 109, LEGAL EAGLE had his rating cut from 120 to 118, AL DANZA drops to 104 from 106, and WILL PAYS is down from 114 to 112.

• Wilgerbosdrift S A Oaks (Grade 2)

RETURN FLIGHT was given a new rating of 106 after she comfortably won the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks over 2450m under another extremely well-judged ride from Piere Strydom. This represents a slight increase of one pound on the 105 rating she was given after she won the Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic.

In rating the Oaks, it was runner-up BLOSSOM who was used as the line horse and accordingly her rating remains unchanged on 103. Third placed SEVILLE ORANGE was raised from 91 to 99, while fourth placed BIZE was upped from 79 to 97. These two fillies were rated relative to fifth placed CHITENGO, so that the three would meet one another on the correct terms in a handicap race. In other changes, SECOND REQUEST was dropped from 104 to 99, while PRETTY BORDER goes up from 72 to 80 in order that she is not rated below last placed FARIHA, who remains unchanged on 80. 

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 www.tellytrack.com.

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.