As predicted by Turf Talk over the weekend, the Equus Champion Owner award is turning into a debacle:

Sent out this morning on Twitter on behalf of the Equus Awards Panel:

The 2020/2021 season final standings: Champion Owner: Suzette Viljoen
CONGRATULATIONS! We look forward to officially honouring all the winners on the 17th of August at 20h00 live on Telly Track


But this was swiftly followed by a Press Release from  the NHA:



The National Horseracing Authority (NHA) is the custodian of the results for thoroughbred races in South Africa and Zimbabwe. It was ratified by the National Board of the NHA in May 2015 that stakes earned by horses competing in restricted races are excluded from the national statistics.  As a result, this ruling applies when determining the CHAMPION BREEDER, CHAMPION STALLION and CHAMPION TRAINER. The decision to exclude the stakes of restricted races from the national statistics was motivated by the view that such races may potentially influence the log positions based on its “closed” nature. The same rule applies to bonuses linked to all sales.

Restricted races are defined as those in which participants are confined:

  1. to horses born or raised in a particular area or are the progeny of stallions of a particular area; or
  2. to graduates of specific sales; or
  3. to horses selected on the basis of some arbitrary criteria.

The above does not apply to owners and jockeys, as all owners have the right to buy and compete where they want to and that jockeys are at liberty to accept engagements as and where they wish (open).  As a result, restricted race stakes are included for owners and jockeys.


Hazel Kayiya

Racing Admin Executive

If Restricted Races are included, Chris van Niekerk would be champion owner!
The Equus Panel are adamant that they are the sole arbiters of which set of statistics to use, while in the press release above, the NHA is saying that their Board Decision is the sole authority. 
Shouldn’t all this have been sorted out long before we got to this stage for goodness sake!