Picture: Wendy Whitehead, Michelle Rix and Candice Dawson are the respective managers of the three teams who will be competing for around R3.5 million in stakes and the Championship Trophy in the GTH Live Series Championship.
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THIRTY local jockeys and three winning SA trainers have signed up for the Global Team Horse Racing series (GTH), running in front of a new family-friendly crowd at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse on consecutive Friday nights from August 5 until September 2.
GTH is a team-based event. Meetings have been condensed into two and a half hours of exhilarating thoroughbred racing under floodlights. There will also be plenty of track-side entertainment for families.
GTH jockeys represent three teams, the Cape Stingers, the KwaZulu Royals and the Gauteng Gijimaz, competing for around R3.5-million in stakes and the Championship trophy.
Meet the Jockeys
Riding for the Cape Stingers are: Mark Khan (captain); Craig Zackey; Sean Veale; Rachel Venniker; Robert Khathi; Gareth Wright; Gabriell Pieterse; Khanya Sakayi; and Donald Gheerthsen.
The KwaZulu Royals are: Muzi Yeni (captain); Kabelo Matsunyane; Raymond Danielson; Jeffrey Syster; Ashton Arries; Thabiso Gumede; Athandiwe Mgudlwa; Jabu Jacobs; and Nicholas Patel.
Gauteng Gijimaz teammates include: Gavin Lerena (captain); Diego De Gouveia; Calvin Habib; Francois Herholdt; Tristan Godden; Cole Dicken; Jason Gates; Hennie Greyling; and Brian Nyawo.
Three reserve jockeys are on stand-by: Mpumi Mjoka; Sphe Hlengwa; and Mfanelo Zuma.
GTH Team Managers
Experienced SA trainers will serve as team managers. Michelle Rix will lead the Cape Stingers, while Candice Dawson and Wendy Whitehead have control of the reins belonging to the Gauteng Gijimaz and KwaZulu Royals respectively.
One-third of the GTH all-female management team, Dawson started CK Racing with her sister, Tammi, and business partner Kathryn Ralphs. During her career, she has been linked to champion horses, including Jet Master, El Picha, Eventuail and Promisefrommyheart (source: SAHRacing (https://www.sahracing.com/index/contents/news/29895) ).
Another passionate horsewoman, Wendy Whitehead is a horse owner and trainer at Summerveld where she has worked for more than 32 years. Whitehead was instrumental in providing GTH with support during the many trials implemented during 2021.
Rix works alongside her father, Harold Crawford, out of the family’s yard in Milnerton, Cape Town. The duo’s top stars include 2021’s Vodacom Durban July winner, Kommetdieding.
Rix said she hoped to squeeze one more victory out of the current racing season and was looking forward to a different type of excitement on GTH race evenings.
Rix said: “Where GTH is going to benefit racing is by bringing in a younger type of crowd, a more social crowd and one that normally wouldn’t come to racing on a Friday night in Durban. Instead of indoor cricket, they’ll say: ‘Let’s go to the racecourse!’”
Spectators can choose a team to support throughout the series and follow the action either at the live races, or by tuning in to the live broadcasts by SuperSport on DSTV’s Action channel (210) from 18h00.
The KwaZulu Royals and the Gauteng Gijimaz teams will race first at a meeting on Friday August 5. The following week, on Friday August 12, the KwaZulu Royals will meet the Cape Stingers. On the 19th, it will be the Cape against Gauteng. Teams will accumulate points for each race over the three weeks. Then, the teams with the most points will ride in the finals on Friday, September 2, 2022.
Teams can apply their own strategy to their spot in the final, see how the scoring works here (https://www.gthracing.co.za/gth-scoring/) .
A Winning Format
Rix said that three provinces competing against each other added to the excitement. “Horse racing is usually a singular sport, but this is a team sport. It will relate to so many more people outside of racing. That’s what racing really needs now.”
The trainer was confident that interest from the racing community would continue to grow. “Once this (GTH) is off the ground and everybody sees what a drawcard it is, they’ll be having a bit of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out),” Rix said.
She wagered: “If this runs well, we can look at attracting bigger sponsors and getting more people involved. There is no reason why this shouldn’t work.”
While still deciding which horses the Cape Stinger jockeys would ride, Rix concluded: “There has to be some fun! Racing is not anybody’s job, it is a way of life. Things don’t always go to plan. But, as tough an industry as it is, you’ve got to have fun.”
Meanwhile, GTH Marketing Director, Angus Campbell, was thrilled about the level of talent the series had managed to attract.
GTH has also partnered with the Riverside Hotel to add an accommodation special for visitors. “They are giving us reduced room rates, and we will be running GTH VIP giveaways together with East Coast Radio – another of our official event media partners – so stay tuned,” Campbell said.
GTH has invited South African social media influencers to apply to serve as event ambassadors through a GTH Social Pioneer programme, adding to the event build-up.
20 chosen Social Pioneers will be incentivised for every follower they bring to the races and have been challenged to come up with fun ways to show their support for their chosen team on race days.
GTH Social Pioneer/Influencer Manager, Avela Khuluse, said: “GTH is a new format of racing that requires an audience build. It’s a new concept that needs to be brought to the masses. We will work with Social Pioneers to help spread awareness about the event. We will also give away some awesome prizes, including cash prizes for Best Dressed and R5 000 for the best event theme designed around their chosen team.”
Tickets for the GTH series are already on sale at TIXSA (https://tickets.tixsa.co.za/event/global-team-horse-racing) . Prices start at R100 for general access. Children under 14 years old go free. Gates open at 17h00 each Friday and the action starts at 18h00, finishing by 20h30.
For more information, visit https://www.gthracing.co.za.
Press Kit (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Zzv9Z4PAQmPx379bx0zEezKuyqJApBXQ?usp=sharing)
Gates open at 17h00 each Friday and the action starts at 18h00, finishing by 20h30. GTH is broadcast live by SuperSport on DSTV’s Action channel (210) from 18h00.
Global Team Horse Racing (GTH) is a fast paced, thrilling spectator sport, specifically aimed at a new generation of fans. GTH is a gamechanger, the definitive team horse racing product, that merges live and digital elements into an exciting entertainment product that is broadcast across multiple platforms, attracting, and engaging a younger, more diverse, and globally connected fan base.
GTH transforms the racing format without losing the essence of the grand traditions of the sport, resulting in a revolutionary and colourful spectator event, where team captains apply innovative strategies to achieve competitive advantage.