Only one SA-based horse who has been eligible to run at the Breeders Cup meeting has made the journey, but this is not surprising considering the current draconian quarantine measures they face, not to mention the expense of the whole excercise.
There is an option for a horse to fly directly from South Africa to the USA, after spending three weeks in vector protected quarantine at Cape Town.
They must then spend a further 60 days in vector protected quarantine in the USA.
However, the cost of this flight makes it unfeasible – the flight costs in the region of US$750,000 and there are not many horses who will be wanting to join it. So for just one or two horses it is not cost effective.
Furthermore, the quarantine facilities in the USA apparently mean training has to be done on a treadmill.
The other alternative is spending three months in Mauritius vector protected quarantine, following the three weeks of doing the same in Cape Town.
The horse then has to go via Europe to America and likely has to spend a certain amount of time in Europe before the last leg of the journey too.
The last to attempt it was Queen Supreme.
For her it was a sensible move, because she was going to stand at stud in America anyway.
Nevertheless, the journey over clearly did not help Queen Supreme. In her preparation run in the UK she finished tailed off last in the Group 2 Joel Stakes over a mile on the Newmarket Rowley Mile, beaten 13 lengths. Then in the Gr 1 Fillies And Mares Breeders Cup Turf she finished last again, beaten 72 lengths.
This year’s Gr 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes winner Make It Snappy was taken out of training with the aim of getting her to the Breeders Cup. However, the attempt was eventually abandoned due to it not being feasible from either a cost effective or well-being point of view.
Princess Calla, like Queen Supreme, is nearing retirement so if there is any plan to stand her at stud in the USA that will help her Breeders Cup cause.
Meanwhile, South African racing is waiting with anticipation for the outcome of the recent EU audit.
Hopefully the results are accompanied by a change to the export protocols that will a) allow direct flights to Europe after a quarantine period in SA and b) for the landed bloodstock to then be treated like European bloodstock for any further travel.