Attention To Detail – How The Brits Do It

Was our diplomacy and homework lacking?

Whatever the moral argument over South African racing continuing during the current lockdown level 4, it seems that the good intentions of our racing regulator in trying to get the engines restarted are perhaps not one hundred percent in sync with their government relations.

While it’s easy to point fingers in the dark shadows of a hangover of disappointment, our perceptions of the NHA’s proximity and interaction to and with the decision makers was largely manifested in their almost confident submission made to government earlier this week.


A few of our readers have suggested that it was cart before the horse stuff – something one would think horsey people could get right.

What we are wondering is – was an unrealistic expectation created and did racing find itself swimming against the tide in an environment where flippancy and wishy washy dreams don’t work quite as well as they do in our day to day racing industry bubble?

While it may be a very different world, and somewhat disingenuously convenient to draw parallels with their counterparts in Britain, our disappointment peppered confusion  is underscored when we watch how the Brits have gone about their planning to get their show on the road.

Earlier this week, the BHA’s Chair, Annamarie Phelps, and Chief Executive, Nick Rust, met the UK Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, to discuss racing’s plans for resumption and the wider economic impact of covid-19 on the industry.

The BHA reports that the Minister is aware of and supports the work being undertaken for resumption at the earliest safe opportunity.

Did anybody on our side have the luxury of an audience at the Union Buildings?

Nick Rust

Nick Rust

The BHA discussion apparently outlined that any restart would be subject to advice of public health authorities and could not apply undue pressure on medical services and available testing. It also considered how continued exercise of racehorses during the lockdown could reduce the time for competition to resume.

The Minister also addressed the resumption of racing in the House of Commons on Monday in response to a Parliamentary Question from Newbury and Lambourn MP, Laura Farris.

In his answer, the Minister explained that while it’s not possible at this stage to set a timescale for the lifting of current restrictions, potential conditions in which sport might return include behind closed doors, with limited staff and with consideration of first responder capacity and regular testing – all of which are incorporated into the plan for resumption of racing.

Next week, the Scottish racecourses will be joining representatives from other major sports bodies at a meeting with the Scottish Sports Minister.

This will provide an opportunity to discuss the resumption of sport in Scotland, where the approach to exiting lockdown and easing restrictions may differ from other UK countries.

And the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Paul Davies, has submitted a question to the Welsh Government on the business support being made available to the thoroughbred sector in Wales, to ensure this is equivalent to the support available to counterparts across the UK.

Yet here in Africa, we are all set for a weekend that includes another historic Triple Tiara  bid and a question around the logistical detail of the movement of non-producing livestock is a supposed stumbling block?

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