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South African racing authorities targeting return to action on May 1

3 minute read

Racing authorities in South Africa are planning for a resumption of racing behind closed doors on May 1, subject to the national lockdown being lifted by then.

Racecourse : Kenilworth (South Africa).
Racecourse : Kenilworth (South Africa). Picture: Peter Heeger/Gallo Images/Getty Images

The South African government extended the Covid-19 lockdown until the end of April and, after numerous meetings between the Racing Operators, the Racing Association and The National Horseracing Authority over the Easter weekend, the target of a May resumption was announced. 

The proposed return date of May 1 is being made on the presumption racing is permitted to continue and, as and when they get back up and running, the programme will have a slightly different look.

In a press release issued on behalf of The National Horseracing Authority, the details of the alterations made to the programme read: "Given that we will have effectively lost five weeks of racing, the Racing Operators have agreed to push the National Feature Race Programme back around a month, which will mean that the Vodacom Durban July will take place on the last Saturday in July [with the Gold Cup meeting pushed out to the end of August].

"This will allow the Highveld to move a slightly revamped Champions Day [featuring the Champions Challenge and six other major races] to the last Saturday in May and stage the Horse Chestnut Stakes [Group 1], SA Derby [Group 1] and SA Oaks [Group 2] on Saturday 2 May."

There will also be changes to the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape racing programme.

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