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Posted 2024-04-09 14:10:19  
Kzn launches Season with improved stakes

The countdown to the South African Champions Season has begun and Hollywoodbets has this week confirmed a stakes injection of an incredible R10,6 million over the duration of Champions Season. 

One of the world's premier horseracing festivals, showcasing an impressive array of 38 graded stakes races, 13 of which are at the elite Grade 1 level, the three-month extravaganza kicks off on Saturday, 4 May at the Theatre of Champions, Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse in Durban.

The annual spectacle of horseracing excellence is steeped in tradition, and reaches a heady climax with the running of Africa’s greatest horseracing event, the R5-million Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July, on Saturday 6 July. The action-packed season will once again grab the attention of racing fans from around the world, as the very best of South Africa’s thoroughbreds go head to head for championship honours.

Hollywoodbets Brand & Communications Manager Devin Heffer said that the raising of the ‘stakes’ would herald a fitting finale to a South African racing season that has already been characterised by some scintillating performances in the Cape and on the Highveld.

“We are proud to play a role in once again encouraging the participation of raiders from around the country to set up their stables on the East Coast for the big season. Minor races have also received a boost, making KZN the place to race. We look forward to enjoying the best of the best battle it out over the next 4 months, and given the timing, the SA Champions Season is effectively the gamechanger as we look forward to the stars being honoured at the Equus Awards at the start of the new term,” added Heffer.

Gold Circle Marketing Executive Stephen Marshall echoed the Hollywoodbets viewpoint, and notably added that the stakes injection marks KZN racing’s highest ever feature race stakes for Champions Season, a benchmark that was previously set in 2019, in the pre-Covid days.

“We thank Hollywoodbets for their unwavering support of the sport of horseracing in South Africa, and particularly here in KwaZulu-Natal, where they have once again assisted us to maintain the prestige associated with the pinnacle season of South African horseracing,” said Marshall.

The SA Champions Season action kicks off with the running of the Grade 2 WSB Guineas and Grade 2 WSB Fillies Guineas, followed by the traditional season opener, the Grade 2 Independent on Saturday Drill Hall Stakes, which is sponsored by Independent Newspapers.

With a feature race total stake of nearly R35-million, South Africa’s Champions Season is set to attract the crème de la crème, all vying for prestigious titles and prizes, including the coveted R5-million Hollywoodbets Durban July. Renowned for a diverse programme catering to all age groups and thoroughbred categories, Champions Season offers the ultimate test for juveniles, 3 year-olds and older horses, across a variety of bumper race days.

The Golden Horse Sprint meeting at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Saturday 1 June stands out with its four R1-million Grade 1 sprint events, showcasing thrilling contests over 1 200m.

While top-class events unfold each weekend, Champions Season reserves five major race dates for the most exhilarating showdowns in the country. They range from the lightning-fast sprints, to the premier middle-distance clashes, such as the R2-million Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge over 1600m, and the sophomore showdown of the R2-million Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and the R1,5-million Grade 1 Tabgold Woolavington 2000. These races have consistently produced champions, and each year feature as stepping stones for some of the major Hollywoodbets Durban July contenders.

The season reaches a pinnacle on 6 July with the world-renowned Hollywoodbets Durban July Day, drawing massive crowds for a spectacular showcase of horseracing excellence, against the background of the 2024 fashion theme, ‘Ride The Wave’. Alongside the main event, the R1,5-million Grade 1 Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes and other thrilling races highlight the day's festivities.

Following the climax of Hollywoodbets Durban July day, racegoers have three weeks to catch their breath before the season’s grand finale at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday 28 July. Super Sunday hosts South Africa’s premier marathon event, the R1-million World Pool Gold Cup, alongside the R1,5-million HKJC Champions Cup and three other potential championship game changing Grade 1 races, and captivating juvenile contests.

Champions Season 2024 promises an unforgettable experience for racing enthusiasts, blending tradition, excitement, and top-tier competition that will once again reaffirm KwaZulu-Natal's status as the unrivalled racing capital of South Africa. 

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