South Africa


Horse racing in South Africa started in 1797 and the first recorded Race Club meeting took place in 1802. The Jockey Club of Southern Africa was founded in 1882. At a Special General Meeting held in January 2004, letting go of 122 years of tradition, the Members took a bold step by voting to change the name from “The Jockey Club of Southern Africa” to “The National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa” the organisation which regulates the sport of thoroughbred horseracing. The National Board of Directors took the view that the name should be changed to more descriptively reflect the organization’s role within an industry where the responsibilities of the different role players can be more than a little confusing to the racing public.

The National Horseracing Authority is probably unique in that it regulates the sport in two independent countries namely South Africa and Zimbabwe. Its head office is in Johannesburg and it has regional offices in Cape Town, Durban, Harare (Zimbabwe) and Port Elizabeth.

Over a period of many years Southern African racing has developed a substantial infrastructure which has tended to be regionally organised / based. There were thus three different totalisator systems based in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town which provided countrywide betting opportunities both on-and off-course.

Name of Racing Authority: The National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa
Postal Address: P O Box 74439, Turffontein, 2140 South Africa
Tel: + 27 11 683 9283
Fax: + 27 11 434 1636

National Board of Directors

Chairman: Mr Ken Truter
Managing Director: Mr Lyndon Barends
Racing Control Executive: Mr Arnold Hyde
Laboratory Director: Dr Schalk de Kock
Financial Manager: Mrs Francesca Coetzee

Contact for Overseas Information: Mr Lyndon Barends

Phumelela Gaming & Leisure Ltd , W A (Rian) du Plessis, Chief Executive Officer, P O Box 82625, Southdale, 2135 South Africa, Tel: +27 11 681 1652, Fax: +27 11 681 1895, E-mail:;

Gold Circle Racing & Gaming Group, Mr M J L (Michel) Nairac, Chief Operating Officer, P O Box 40, Durban, 4000 South Africa, Tel: +27 31 314 1500, Fax: +27 31 314 1767, E-mail:;

Mashonaland Turf Club; Mr C G (Clever) Mushangwe, Chief Executive, PO Box 376, Harare, Zimbabwe, Tel: +263 4 88 3590, Fax: +263 4 88 3795


Racing SeasonFrom 1 August To 31 July
Number of Racecourses9
Number of FixturesFlat 482
Number of Races4 027
Number of RunnersFlat 44 188
Number of Different RunnersFlat 6 710
Number of Horses in Training5 218
Number of Trainers162
Number of Jockeys120
Number of Owners2 794 (where a partnership or a syndicate or a company = 1 owner)
Principal Races: (significant changes are expected to be announced shortly)

1. Vodacom Durban JulyGR 14250000Greyville Durban
2. Sun Met (Cond)GR 12500000Kenilworth Cape Town
3. Summer CupGR 12000000Turffontein Johannesburg
4. SA DerbyGR 12000000Turffontein Johannesburg
5. SA Classic (Level Weights)GR 12000000Turffontein Johannesburg
6. SA Nursery (Level Weights)GR 11000000Turffontein Johannesburg
7. The Queen's Plate (WFA)GR 11000000Kenilworth Cape Town
8. Horse Chestnut StakesGR 11000000Turffontein Johannesburg
9. Champions ChallengeGR 14000000Turffontein Johannesburg


Total Prizemoney (Local Currency - South African Rand)

R399,454,150 - Provided by Racing Organisations

Average Prizemoney Per Race (Total) R41,349

Exchange Rate to US$: US$1 = 13,63ZAR

Betting Totalizator Yes Off Course Yes
Bookmakers Yes Off Course Yes

Total Betting Turnover / Year 3,452,675,948 (Totalizator) / 2,293,133,534 (Bookmakers)

On Course 247,519,020 (T) / 254,979,737 (B)

Off Course 3,205,156,928 (T) / 2,038,153,797 (B)

Principal Bet Types Jackpot, Place Accumulator, Win/Place, Swinger, Trifecta, Pick Six

Betting Deductions Varies between countries and between provinces (states)


Total number of breeders 240

Total number of stallions 69

Total number of mares 2,430

Total number of thoroughbred births / year 3,482

Report on Racing Activities

In recent years all of the race clubs in South Africa have merged into two Racing Operators namely Gold Circle Racing and Gaming Group and Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Limited.

Gold Circle was born out of the amalgamation of the Durban Turf Club, the Clairwood Turf Club and the Pietermaritzburg Turf.

Driven to always do the right thing, Gold Circle operates in line with the principles of The National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa (NHA). The NHA’s core function of its Racing Division is to ensure that thoroughbred racing is provided with a competent and efficient racehorse and jockey control and monitoring service to “maintain the integrity of horseracing”.

In fact, in 2005, Gold Circle and Phumelela, established the National Racing Bureau to handle entries, declarations and card changes for all race meetings throughout South Africa in an industry bid to streamline the administration of the sport.

Phumelela is a public company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It was formed out of a merging of the assets and operations of the three former race clubs in the Johannesburg and their common structures (such as totalisator system, training facilities, transport services etc). Phumelela was soon joined by the race clubs in the Province of the Free State, and the clubs of in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape. Phumelela sold two of its three courses in the Johannesburg area while putting a second track on one of the other courses in the area. It has a further race course in the Free State area (near Vereeniging) one in Kimberley, one in Port Elizabeth and one in Cape Town.

While both Gold Circle and Phumelela retain their respective totalisator systems they have now been linked to provide one national totalisator system with countrywide coverage.

Gold Circle and Phumelela have jointly formed Tellytrack - which provides countrywide and international TV coverage of all Southern African racing through the major South African digital satellite television network.

In Zimbabwe the Matabeleland Turf Club has ceased operating and racing is now only conducted by the Mashonaland Turf Club in Harare. It also operates a totalisator system.

The NHA has changed from being an elite club into what is arguably the most representative organisation in South African racing. Nearly all people who are licensed by The NHA (owners, breeders, trainers, riders and officials) automatically receive membership and the right to vote

The NHA has a maximum of nine National Board Directors, seven of whom who are appointed by a Nominations Committee in the manner set out below.

In order to ensure representation of the Management of the NHA on the National Board, the Managing Director and the Racing Control Executive are also National Board Directors.

The NHA focuses entirely on the regulation of racing and breeding. All functions in racing which were formerly undertaken by the race clubs and which have a regulatory connotation (such as starters, handlers, judges, clerks of scales and handicappers) have been transferred to it. From its side The NHA has transferred control of the Jockeys Academy to a new organisation set up for the purpose.