Trotting and Harness Racing
The Harness Racing Association of South Africa

News & Events

Chairmans Report 2013


Monday 09th December 2013



A further difficult and financially constrained year is behind us. We can only look forward to a change of fortune and expansion in 2014.

Our relationship with Gold Circle has soured a bit over the past year and it seems they are intent on continuing to repress harness racing – but at the same time support “rural racing” at a race sponsorship level only - from CSR funds.

The potential threat of Trotco’s totalisator operator’s license, now approved, must understandably be of some concern to them. They continue however to give us use of our current small office premises at Greyville racecourse at no charge, for which we are grateful.

Together with Mr Mike Mthembu (Director: Recreation KZNDSR) I attended the 2014 World Trotting Conference in Paris (10/6/13 – 20/6/13). I remain a committee member on both the ITA’s “constitution” and “breeding” committees. I also remain the member for South Africa of IRIIS – the new International Racing Information and Intelligence Service set up by the Ontario Racing Commission in Canada. Additional members of this working group who can add value are currently being sought.

Over the period of WTC and at a high profile ceremony at Vincennes racetrack we signed a formal agreement with SECF of France, giving us local jurisdiction over the Trotteur Francais Stud Book and breed. China and Serbia signed similar agreements with SECF.

Following the five (5) formal conference days I was lucky enough to visit Normandy and a number of premier racing, training and breeding establishments. These included the French National Stud at Le Pin and the very impressive French Trotting Academy.

Our alignment with rural horseracing (telebhela) continues, and we are endeavouring to assist upgrade and regularize that code. We assisted at a number of rural clinics over the past year but owing to financial constraints were unable to provide sponsorships at both the Dundee July and the Sisonke Summer Cup events this year. The rural data-base continues to be collated and horse passports are being issued in tandem with a freeze-branding program. We hope that next year we can continue the upgrade with drug testing and weight/handicapping in that environment for the first time.

Our protegé Devonne Govender has now returned from Australia after his year with RWWA in Perth. He is now qualified and licensed as a “B Class” driver. From all reports received he worked hard and was popular with the WA racing community. We hope that Devonne will be able to find a role to fully impart his new-found skills for us in South Africa.

The Coastal Horse-care Unit also continues to work closely with us in rural equine development, and I remain a member of their board of directors.

The failure of our national department of agriculture (DAFF) to  recognize the equine as their responsibility (only production livestock animals are supported) is to be deplored, and I trust that we can soon engage with them at a high level and reverse this unfortunate dereliction of responsibility.

Our acquisition of the imported stallion Golden Tilly (SWE) blk h 2003 is proving fortunate and he was successful in getting our entire band of 10 imported mares “in foal”. Five of these mares have so far dropped live foals. We continue to plan for a futurity program for his progeny starting with entry to a R500,000 race for his first crop of 3 year old progeny to be raced at Dundee. The R1,000 cover fee that we are currently charging includes purchase of membership to The Standardbred Breeders Association of South Africa.

To date we have only covered 5 outside “African owned” mares, and problems do exist in this arena with our responsibility of avoiding any STD’s. Dourine, a notifiable disease with no cure and assured fatality is prevalent in rural and northern KZN. I believe that our stallions should not be exposed to live-cover of any mare that does not have a “green card” or Dourine free certificate. I propose that we introduce this as a Rule in terms of  the TSA Breeding Rules and Regulations.

Our intended program of Artificial Insemination is not yet underway, due mostly to current financial limitations. We have however procured a “phantom mount mare” – a necessary component for this program.   

Future acquisition of a pacing stallion as well as a Trotteur Francais stallion is also deemed to be strategic and important for our program going forward.

To have now effectively established the nucleus of a new breeding industry in South Africa is a huge accomplishment for us. I trust that it will now grow in scale over the next decade and that the Standardbred breed becomes a viable alternative for commercial breeders.

Together with KZNDSR your association is pressing ahead with plans for development of the SA Trotting Academy in Dundee. This unique stallion station and equine research, training and extension facility will bring extensive benefits for the rural communities as well as furthering our own objectives in terms of trotting development. Accreditation by Agriseta is also in progress with a view to ultimate FET college status. Regrettably, our applications to NLDTF and Jobs Fund II were unsuccessful.

The KZN Department of Sport and Recreation continues to work closely with us and we are grateful to them and particularly MEC Sibhidla-Sapete and Mike Mthembu for this ongoing support.

TSA membership numbers as at 19th November 2013 were as follows:

Hon Life Members                   2

Life Members                          1

Family Memberships               2

Ordinary Members                  29

Rural Members                        503

Our future role in the RSA racing landscape is clearly relevant, and we need to continue to be mindful at all times of the national imperatives and transformation expectations. I believe that make-up of our board needs to reflect at least a 50% PDI demographic.

Our engagement with KZNGBB as well as NGB in proposing changes to the current legislation is ongoing. TSA must be correctly structured, ready and able to fulfill a future statutory role as regulator of the non-gallop gaits in South Africa.  

To the other board members and all members – thank you very much for the inputs, support and guidance over the past year. I wish you all a merry Christmas, festive season and holiday.

D.A.Latimer – chairman.

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