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“The African Horse Sickness embargo
lifts next month…”
Andrew Harrison - There were many in horse racing who lamented the imposition of an export ban on our best horses travelling abroad last year - an outbreak of African Horse Sickness (AHS) in the AHS control area of the Western Cape activating an instant 12-month embargo on international equine exports.
It was a blow for those fortunate few to be involved in horses deemed good enough to succeed on the international stage as they contemplated the potential loss of millions of dollars in earnings and the fame that goes with these things.
As South Africans, too, the opportunity to swell our collective pride when one of ours excels on the international stage was undone by the bite of a miggie.
There were others, however, and I bet a large majority of racing fans, who took solace in that at least for a year our best horses stayed at home.
A throwback to the years before it became popular or even essential for our top performers to be sent abroad to test their mettle affording the nearly-good-enoughs an opportunity to land the plum prizes on offer at home.
This latest ban “made” the Cape Sizzling Summer Season.
Attempts by Hong Kong-based owner of The Apache, Winston Chow, were twice thwarted by AHS bans. On each occasion Chow was rewarded as The Apache was turned out of quarantine to thrill racegoers with important Grade 1 victories.
These are just two of a host of potential travellers that stayed home to the delight of their supporters.
No doubt there would have been discussions around the careers of the likes of Gimmethegreenlight, Jackson, Variety Club, Silver Flyer, Princess Victoria and a few others but the export ban will no doubt have been high on the agenda. The embargo lifts next month which may herald a mass exodus but it did at least afford us an all too brief opportunity of watching some tremendous racing on home turf.
Extract from www.goldcircle.co.za