HOLLYWOODBETS have extended their original R10 million three-year sponsorship of Gold Circle by a further R1.5 million per year with the announcement of some innovative changes that will come into effect on October 1, 2019.

Gold Circle and Hollywood bets will be in a R1 million joint partnership, each contributing R500k towards rewarding the grooms of winning horses with R1000 for every winner at KZN race meetings.

Tokens to the value of R1000 will be presented to the winning groom of every race in KZN. This is in addition to the 1% of stake money that the grooms already receive.

“Getting involved in joint CSI projects was always high on the agenda when Gold Circle and Hollywoodbets first met regarding sponsorship initiatives,” said Gold Circle’s Senior Marketing and Events Manager, Stephen Marshall. “This additional grooms’ incentive demonstrates the commitment of both parties to all stakeholders in the horse racing industry. We recognise the critical and integral role that grooms play and we are always looking at ways to illustrate that recognition. Going forward, grooms’ names will also be included in the official race card.”

Hollywoodbets Brand and Communications Manager, Devin Heffer, added; “Hollywoodbets is proud to be partnering with Gold Circle on the grooms initiative. Rewarding the winning groom with R1000 for every race at Hollywoodbets Greyville and Hollywoodbets Scottsville is important to us as a brand, and we relish the opportunity to play a tangible part in the empowering of this important sector of horse racing in KZN.”

In a further initiative, which will add colour and make horseracing more fun and attractive to a younger audience, Hollywoodbets will sponsor colour-coded saddles cloths, each saddlecloth number corresponding to a specific colour. Recently, this only applied to the last race on the card, but from October 1, it will apply to all races in KZN, excluding certain sponsored race days.

“Horse racing is steeped in tradition. However, respect for tradition should not be a barrier to innovation and stimulation. We believe that each small innovation will refresh our product and will go some way in differentiating the KZN offering from horse racing in other parts of the country – which in turn, will hopefully increase the interest, participation and betting on our product,” said Marshall. “The Gold Circle and Hollywoodbets marketing teams will continue to collaborate and introduce new initiatives wherever we can to improve the customer experience on course and on TV.”

“This practice currently exists in the USA and South America,” said Heffer. “It is an initiative that allows people who may not follow form, to possibly follow their favourite number, or favourite colour. The consistency with this is that the numbers and colours will always be the same. For example, Number 1 will always be red with a white number. Number 7 will always be orange with a black seven, etc.”

“Our goal will be to make these colours as visible and informative as possible, and to simplify the sport of horse racing to the wider viewing public,” said Heffer.

All these innovations will come into effect on Tuesday, October 1.