Quarantine restrictions isolate South Africa

Quarantine issues are threatening the participation of European-trained horses at the 2011 Melbourne Cup and they could also have a major impact on the 2012 Dubai World Cup meeting.

Champion South African conditioner Mike de Kock has dominated the Gulf training ranks in recent years but he will boycott the next Dubai carnival unless stringent quarantine regulations are relaxed.

South African horses used to spend 30 days in Europe after quarantine at Kenilworth racecourse but the regulations were changed after outbreaks of African Horse Sickness earlier this year.

The European Union imposed an automatic two-year ban and the only way out of the country is via Mauritius.  The quarantine period there has been increased from 30 days to 90 and horses then have to go to Europe for a further 30 days before they can be admitted to Dubai.

“I’m not going to have horses like Igugu, Mushreq and Safwan taking more than 150 days to get to their destination,” de Kock said.  “If they can’t fly from Cape Town to get there within reasonable time, they won’t go at all.

“There is no scientific evidence to support the current protocol, yet it remains in place and we are essentially stranded.  Hopefully, good sense will prevail.”

Last start G1 Durban July winner Igugu (Galileo) is owned by Sheikh Khalifa and G1 Golden Horseshoe runner-up Mushreq ((Flying Spur) races for Sheikh Hamdan.