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 Picture : Isivunguvungu’s win in the Gr 1 Mercury Sprint proved he is effective over 1200m (Candiese Lenferna Photography)

The interest in the export protocols situation is turning into a clamour as more and more connections reveal overseas pretensions.

Two award winners spoke of overseas aspirations, provided direct travel becomes a reality, at the KZN Racing Awards on Friday evening.

The Hollywood Syndicate-owned KZN Champions Sprinter Isivunguvungu has been having a deserved holiday on the farm and will be back in training tomorrow (Tuesday).

Trainer Peter Muscutt said the ultimate target for the dual Grade 1-winning What A Winter gelding would be the Hong Kong Sprint, a Gr 1 weight for age event with prize money this December of HK$26 million (R63,2 million).
Muscutt is thus eagerly awaiting further good news about equine exports from South Africa after a recent breakthrough in which the EU audit done on African Horse Sickness (AHS) control last year received a positive report.
However, such is the historical slowness with which changes become effective in this realm, it seems unlikely he will be able to make it to this year’s Hong Kong Sprint, which takes place every December over 1200m at Sha Tin.
The next big Hong Kong target for him might be the HK$22 million Gr 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize in April and even being able to get there through direct travel is not a certainty.
“Direct travel” will require a quarantine period at the Kenilworth Quarantine station followed by direct travel to Europe and being treated like a European horse upon arrival. This will cut travel time to a place like Hong Kong by months and will be kinder to the horses.
Isivunguvungu gave Hollywood Syndicate a fine ending to the season when adding the Gr 1 Mercury Sprint to his Gr 1 Computaform Sprint. The Mercury Sprint victory proved the once headstrong horse had learnt to settle and he is now effective over 1200m.
Des Gonsalves, racing manager for owner Mario Ferreira, also spoke of overseas ambitions for KZN Princess Calla if direct travel became a reality.
Charles Dickens’ trainer Candice Bass-Robinson is another who has spoken of overseas ambitions and so has David Nieuwenhuizen, trainer of Sandringham Summit.