The National Horseracing Authority of SA and the media have seldom sat around the same fire. But the appointment of the vastly internationally experienced Dave McGillivray as Racing Control Executive has gone a long way to changing our perceptions and building bridges.
He is approachable and cordial and we can now pick up the phone and talk matters through. The small changes and dynamics are tangible. Amongst other improvements, McGillivray has bolstered the stipes reports and dramatically improved turnaround times in their delivery. He has also introduced an innovative draw loading routine at the starting stalls.
The quietly spoken administrator gave us a peek into the man in the grey suit.
What is your name?
David Hugh McGillivray
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Mongu, N Rhodesia (Zambia). Ireland and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
Classic and country
Rugby & Cricket
What is the characteristic you like most about yourself?
Prepared to learn
Where did you go to school?
Midleton College Co: Cork, Ireland
What career path did you take after you completed your schooling?
What was your first job in horseracing administration?
Stipendiary Steward in the Eastern Cape 1987
What is your current position at the NHRA and what broad responsibilities does the post entail? Racing Control Executive. Everything to do with Racing Control
You are now based in Johannesburg but we are aware that you lived in Cape Town. Where would you live and work if you had the choice?
Prefer Cape Town but weather is better in Johannesburg
Is your office door open or closed?
What is your relationship like with the racing operators?
Excellent; they have been very supportive to me
In the broad South African racing environment is the NHRA a loving big brother or a nasty spoilt bossy cousin?
We are trying hard to be a loving big brother!
Is the sport crooked?
No, that would not be a fair statement.
Do you read racing websites and the chat forums?
I do not read racing forums.
In terms of the regulation and policing of the sport, what is your single major area of concern?
We need to be far stricter in all aspects of Racing Control.
You have worked overseas. What positions have you held ?
Chief Stipendiary Steward – Malaysia. Director Racing Control Singapore and Malaysia, Professional Racing Steward Singapore & Malaysia
You were attacked while working in Malaysia a few years ago. What exactly happened and did it change your outlook in any way?
It was a very unfortunate incident and would take too long to explain. In brief it was to do with clamping down on information being passed to riders at the start. No it did not change my outlook. What is right is right.
The NHRA is seen in some quarters as a cumbersome bureaucratic machine which does not always react dynamically to change . Would you agree?
No things have changed and we continue to do so.
We have noted that the Stipes Reports have been uniformised nationally and appear to be more comprehensive.Are there plans to improve this document further?
It is still a work in progress. Stipes reports need to be accurate and informative. We are looking at ways to have it released to the media earlier.
Do you feel our racehorses are poorly schooled?
That would be too general a term. However some of our horses barrier manners are not acceptable. As officials we need to be stricter when passing horses.
You have recently introduced new loading procedures at the start. Could you explain what it entails?
We now load two year olds by draw: for example 1 & 7, 2 & 8 etc.
In the past well-schooled horses were prejudiced as they loaded first and had to wait for the not so well behaved horses to load, often resulting in the well-schooled horses being slow to begin. Next the system will involve 2 & 3 year olds and the following year 2,3, and 4 year olds and so on.
Do you see this as a means of improving the overall starting process?
Yes I do. In a few years our loading should be far better.
A Bit about the National Horseracing Authority
to promote and maintain honourable practice and to eliminate malpractice which may arise in thoroughbred horse racing in SOUTHERN AFRICA;
to regulate the sport of thoroughbred horse racing in SOUTHERN AFRICA;
to maintain and publish the General Stud Book;
to encourage the promotion of thoroughbred horse racing in SOUTHERN AFRICA;
to encourage and improve the breed of the thoroughbred race horse in SOUTHERN AFRICA;
to promote and foster co-operation and goodwill with recognised thoroughbred racing authorities, Governments and Provincial Governments;
to render services of whatever nature to racing or other sporting authorities whether within SOUTHERN AFRICA or elsewhere and to render services to persons or bodies serving, associated or connected to such authorities.
NHA National Board:
Adv. A P Joubert(Chairman) Central Provinces
Mr R L Bruss Central Provinces
Mr J M Witts-Hewinson Central Provinces
Mr R J Trotter KwaZulu-Natal
Mr R Moodley KwaZulu-Natal
Mr E Braun Western Cape
Mr C S Beyleveld Eastern Cape
Mrs S Rowett (TBA)
Mr R du Plessis (Alternate Mr P Davis) (Phumelela)
Mr G T Hawkins (Gold Circle)
Mr V Thurling (Kenilworth Racing)
Mr L Wainstein (Owner’s Rep)
Mr D J Pillay (Chief Excutive )
Mr D H McGillivray (Racing Control Executive)
Mr A Mohamed (Co-opted)