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Adrian Todd, managing director of SA Equine Health And Protocols NPC (SAEHP), has announced a breakthrough in the battle to change the equine export protocols and allow direct travel to Europe.

SA’s director of Animal Health Dr Mpho Maja sent an official signed letter to Todd stating, “It is our pleasure to inform you that we have confirmed availability for an audit of the animal health controls in place in South Africa in relation to the export of equidae from South Africa to the European Union (EU) from 10 to 21 October 2022.”

Previous intended scheduling for this important audit was interrupted by the Covid19 pandemic.

However, on this occasion a physical audit will be supplemented by video or virtual options depending on Covid19 constraints.

Todd was high in his praise of the chief funder of SAEHP, the Hong Kong Jockey Club. He was thankful to plenty of others who had given up time and put in a lot of effort with the goal of getting over a hurdle which will provide an immense boost to South African racing if it can at last be jumped.

HKJC Chief Executive Officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges (pictured) said last year after the funding announcement, “The Hong Kong Jockey Club is pleased that funds from its simulcast of South African racing into Hong Kong will support the critically important steps being taken by the South African industry to restore direct horse exports.”

Dr Maja is awaiting further information from the EU inspectorate and further information in order to begin preparing appropriately for the audit event.

Todd stated “We have our audit date and now the hard yards begin making sure all our preparation translates into a glowing report and the opening of exports.”

Todd has always been confident that the all encompassing measures put in place to control diseases like African Horse Sickness (AHS) and prevent their spread will see South Africa pass the audit. 

Dr Maja also conveyed her confidence in a successful audit outcome.

The non-profit SAEHP was founded in January 2018 by Adrian Todd, Mike de Kock and Chris van Niekerk.

They worked hard to correct the shortcomings of the failed 2013 audit.

In the process they successfully moulded and solidified public private partnerships with national and provincial goverment.

In 2021 Abery took over the reins as chairman.

He and Todd then successfully negotiated a funding agreement with HKJC.

This worldwide-renowned non-profit organisation is one of the oldest institutions in Hong Kong, having been formed in 1884, and they have funded SAEHP in its entireity since 2021.

In doing so they showed their respect for South Africa’s racing product, for the quality of their bloodstock and for the excellence of their thoroughbred breeding stud farms.

Most importantly they displayed their desire to increase the overall strength of the Asian Racing Conference region by facilitating ease of movement for all of its member countries, including South Africa.

Abery formally thanked HKJC stating “Getting to this point in our drive to allow the export of horses from South Africa to the EU is due to the hard work and support of various role players, including our partners in the South African Government, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, , the NHRA as well as various racing bodies and individuals who have supported SAEHP to date, and of course the efforts of the team at SAEHP. I would like to especially thank the Hong Kong Jockey Club for their funding of SAEHP’s operations over the last year and for their insight and support during the process. I would also like to thank Adrian Todd and his team at SAEHP for their hard work and tenacity in getting us to this critical point.”

Todd reserved the final word for Chris van Niekerk, saying, “He deserves recognition as both a founder member and for the effort and financial support he has poured into this cause even after he had resigned from the board, without the vision of Chris van Niekerk as well as his unwavering support and mentorship, SAEHP would have never gotten off the ground. Chris has always been there and without a doubt is the single biggest private financial contributor to this cause, even after he stepped back from the board his financial support continued as well as his mentorship.”

Chairman David Abery leads a board currently consisting of Mike de Kock, Vaughan Koster, and Managing Director Adrian Todd.  

Picture: A horse being loaded into a travel box before being lifted onto a cargo plane. (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/AFP via Getty Images)