Durban, 24 February 2022: At the recent launch of the Hollywoodbets Durban July, there were a number of significant announcements which shone a bright light on the upcoming 2022 KZN Champions Season.
In addition to the increase in the Hollywoodbets Durban July main race stake from R2m in 2021 to a highest ever R5m, between Hollywoodbets and Gold Circle there is a further stakes top-up of R13m being injected into minor races and feature races from 1 March – 31 August, bringing the total to an incredible R16m boost to the KZN stakes pot.
Brand & Communications Manager for Hollywoodbets, Devin Heffer, said “Investing in the Stakes Top-Up over a 6-month period is massive, in not only attracting the best horses to the province for Champions Season, but it will ensure that a wide range of owners, trainers, jockeys and grooms will benefit at all levels. We want KZN to be the main racing destination in South Africa, and investing in the stakes is the added incentive that will make that happen.”
The distribution of these funds has raised the minimum stakes for any races in the province during this period to R100 000. Grade 1 races such as the Daily News 2000, Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes, Mercury Sprint and the Champions Cup will each now carry a stake of R1million and the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge will be run for R1,25m.
“Once we had the commitment of extra stakes funding, we had to find a balance between supporting our wide base of stakeholders, many of whom don’t have the calibre of horses to compete for the big feature races, whilst at the same time ensuring that Champions Season maintains its stature by attracting the best horses in the country with increases in our feature race stakes,” said Raf Sheik, Racing Executive of Gold Circle.
In recognition of the vital role played by Grooms in the racing industry, Hollywoodbets and Gold Circle have announced the Groom’s Double-Up which is an increase in the awards for the Grooms of winning horses in KZN from R1 000 to R2 000 per race, for the months of March, April and May. This joint venture between the operator and Hollywoodbets, known as the Grooms Initiative, has already put almost R2 million into the pockets of a key sector of the industry since the launch in 2019.