SA Jockeys Get Their Ticket To Ride

Government's Interprovincial travel move opens door

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s lockdown address to the nation on Saturday evening will not only have been music to the ears of those that enjoy a tipple or lighting up!

But also for our jockeys who have been constrained by the National Horseracing Authority’s contentious provincial ‘house arrest’ restrictions.

South Africa enters lockdown phase 2 on Monday evening at midnight, and with the runway cleared for interprovincial travel amongst other aspects, it is difficult to see our racing regulator maintaining their unpopular stranglehold on our jockeys.

While hometown jockeys, who have traditionally taken a backseat to their more illustrious counterparts from the major centres, have been making hay – and some more cash in the process – it is likely that things will largely return to normal, sooner rather than later.

The jockey travel policy was seen as a PR nightmare by many and baffled stakeholders and the racing public. Every other stakeholder sector travelled and jockeys were singled out for special control in a move that we still battle to understand.

In June trainers Sean Tarry and Mike de Kock were maligned as cry babies in some quarters after having had the jockeys they declared for the Hollywoodbets Greyville 28 June Gr1 features summararily removed by the National Horseracing Authority.

So Mr Ramaphosa has hopefully given Mr Moodley a soft exit from the jockey travel albatross to focus on more pressing matters!

The top-level announcement  also changes the landscape in respect of the NHRA’s press release on 11 August, where they indicated that a decision regarding a possible easing off of restrictions and jockeys being permitted a second interdistrict move in the month of August would be made by no later than 17 August 2020.

The timing is thankfully also likely to open the World Sports Betting Gold Cup day to trainers and owners using the jockeys of their choice, wherever they are based.

Declarations for the big meet at Hollywoodbets Greyville on 29 August are due by 11h00 on Thursday 20 August.

The British Horseracing Authority said last week that all jockeys, trainers or members of stable staff wishing to participate in a French fixture will either have to self-isolate for 14 days on return or elect to use the elite athlete exemption which requires undergoing two Covid-19 tests upon return to the UK.


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