|“An Amazing Experience!” – 3A Racing Syndicate|
The various arms of the Thoroughbred industry are inextricably linked, with each dependent on the other for survival. So when a young, enthusiastic group of people get together in support of the racing industry, it is clear that the entire industry can only benefit from the injection of new blood.
Such blood is the 3A Racing Syndicate – a group of “young guys” as Andrew Harrison and Wesley Bowman calls them – bringing the fun back into horseracing. Named as Gold Circle’s Owners Of The Month for December 2012, it was a very proud moment after they experienced their first win with filly three year-old filly Vanilla Twilight.
Aside from the Vodacom Durban July, Durban’s premier social event on the annual calendar, 20-and 30-somethings aren’t embracing racing as much as they could. But all this could change if more people learn about 3A racing syndicate and replicate what they are doing.
Andrew and Wesley got involved in racing from the age of 13 when the father of a friend invited them to the race track. “We started going to racing on a regular basis, we were lighties – 15 years old – and then we put together a syndicate about four years ago; it just went from there,” he says.
“There were just four of us originally, but when people saw us going to the races, suddenly we started growing. We’re now a big bunch of guys and we’re having to turn people away.
“Unfortunately you don’t come across a young generation like us at racing although we are trying to promote it. But it is hard to get people involved in racing and getting them to a racecourse. The July for instance is a big social event and we want to replicate that experience. There are hardly any youngsters that come to racing but when they do come here they don’t want to leave.”
Their involvement in racing has evolved over time and they have graduated from regular punters to owners. Wesley admits that the feeling of getting a first winner is indescribable, which the 3A Racing Syndicate got to experience first-hand in December with Vanilla Twilight, trained by Glen Kotzen.
“For me it was the most amazing experience and we have watched the replay over and over again, it is the most amazing feeling – you cannot explain it! To win a bet on a horse is exciting enough but when the horse is coming home and it’s yours it’s just amazing. To try to explain a win to someone outside of horseracing is difficult, but all our mates who weren’t involved in horses at all are getting sucked into it just because of this whole vibe, just owning horses and having a good time.
“It’s an experience that you have to ‘experience’, you can’t explain it to anyone. I don’t even want to imagine what it would be like to win a Group race like a July because I think I would run off the rails! We currently have 12 members and I control the running of the box. In terms of the Syndicate we have different horses in racing and it spans across about 30 people. We have three horses in training at the moment and the syndicate comprises different people, about 30 guys in total.
“We are just so passionate about racing and we want to carry on going. We got involved when we were very young. All we want to do is share our experiences, with everyone else, and we have the ways and means to do stuff.”
Their three horses are Vanilla Twilight (who has a win), Trix Of The Trade (the more fancied of the three) and Berthe who has yet to run.
He explains that all of their horses are leased at this stage.
“We are at a fairly young stage in our lives and careers and business and that sort of thing, so the best way for us to do it is to lease horses. For us it’s the best way to get involved and the most affordable because it is an expensive sport.
“It’s a win-win situation for ourselves and the breeders, having access to quality horses that the breeders would like to keep for their farms at a later stage. Our current trainers are Glen Kotzen and Alistair Gordon. Glen is a good friend and an amazing trainer, so we are really happy to have a horse with him.”
Although their horses are not KZN-breds, the new breeders race day and the races for R200 000 mean that supporting the local breeding industry “is something we definitely have to consider. And it’s a week before the July – you have these six [now seven] R200 000 races, one for a million and then the July. A R1-million race for me is a huge incentive.”
Having started simply for the enjoyment of racing, it has snowballed and Andrew says people are paying a lot of attention to them. Their next step is taking a proposal to Gold Circle to try and promote the game to a younger generation.
“We are trying to do something and Gold Circle are engaging with us,” he explains. “It is very exciting. Just from what we have seen and experienced from our box, and replicating that and doing it on a bigger scale it would definitely make it work.
“We would love to see more people get involved in the game – it is just so much fun. It is a really good experience. We have loads of ideas to get people to racing. We have spent a lot of time on it and we are quite passionate, so hopefully that passion will shine through and we will get more people here and make it happen.”
Follow the 3A Racing Syndicate on Twitter at the following link: @3Aracing
KZN Breeders would like to wish the 3A Racing Syndicate every success in their racing and promotional endeavours and look forward to seeing more winners from them!