Trotting and Harness Racing
The Harness Racing Association of South Africa

News & Events

Chairman's Report - Friday 7th December 2012


Another difficult and financially constrained year is behind us. We now look forward to 2013 bringing a change of fortune for the sport of trotting in South Africa and particularly for us - The Harness Racing Association of South Africa in our new guise as “Trotting South Africa”.

Your board has maintained a strong co-operation with Gold Circle whose future looks now well secured with the recent sale of Clairwood racecourse and de-merger with the loss-making Western Cape division.

Trotco’s totalisator application is based partially on an agreement with Gold Circle to allow us use of their approved totalisator system software. Trotco is furthermore exploring means of possible acquisition of the Ashburton training centre from Gold Circle.

Having served as a director of Gold Circle for the last period I did not stand for re-election at their 2012 AGM, but remain fully committed to maintaining a strong forward co-operative link with them. Pleasingly though, and in the international background, I remain a committee member on both the ITA’s “constitution” and “breeding” committees. I have also been co-opted onto the working committee of IRIIS – the new International Racing Information
and Intelligence Service set up by the Ontario Racing Commission in Canada. These exposures keep us well posted on international racing issues.  

Our ongoing gratitude to Gold Circle and their management is sincere. We trust that Trotco/GC co-operation will soon expand and that revenues will flow which will facilitate real expansion of non-gallop racing in South Africa.

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 and were main sponsors to both the Dundee July and the Sisonke Summer Cup. The rural data-base is being collated and horse passports are being issued in tandem with a province wide 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 was accepted this year by RWWA in Perth for a 12 month training program as a “cadet” driver. From reports received so far he is progressing exceptionally well. He currently has completed 3 of 10 compulsory trial race drives. It is sincerely hoped that on his return to SA, Devonne will be able to find a role to fully impart his new-found skills back home for us.

The Coastal Horse-care Unit also continues to work closely with us in rural equestrian development. 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 purchase of the stallion Sugar Trader (US) bh 2000 was unfortunately reversed when on arrival at quarantine in Belgium he was tested positive as an EVA carrier and refused entry to South Africa. We have subsequently been more fortunate in the later acquisition of Golden Tilly (SWE) blk h 2003, who has arrived and is currently serving our band of 10 imported Standardbred mares on the farm Warley Common in Mooi River. “Willy” is a stallion with impeccable pedigree and performance and we have high hopes for him as a wider gene pool upgrade catalyst. We are hoping to implement 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 proposed R1,000
cover fee will include purchase of membership to The Standardbred Breeders Association of South Africa. Future acquisition of a pacing stallion as well as a Trotteur Francais stallion is also deemed to be strategic and important for our program.

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.

Your association is pressing ahead with 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. An application to NLDTF for R1.5m has been submitted and a new application to The Jobs Fund III is planned for early next year. Accreditation by Agriseta is also in progress with a view to ultimate FET college status.

The KZN Department of Sport and Recreation continues to work closely with us and we are grateful to them for their contribution of R215,000 is support of the stallion acquisition. We thank MEC Sibhidla-Sapete and Mike Mthembu for this ongoing support.

TSA membership numbers as at 15th November 2012 were as

Hon Life Members    2

Life Members   1

Family Memberships   2

Ordinary Members   33

Rural Members   553

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

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

I record sadly the resignation from the board of Aubrey Richardson, someone I believe would have opened up significant opportunities for us in the Western Cape and the American Saddler fraternity. I wish him better health in 2013 and onwards. To the other board members, Ian Deetlefs, Karel Miedema, Michel Nairac, Menzi Buthlezi, Johan Nilsson, Mandla Ntanzi and Nozipho Khambule – thank you very much for the inputs and guidance over the past year. I wish the board and all members a great Christmas, festive season and holiday.

D.A.Latimer – chairman.

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