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Salvator Mundi wins the Grade 2 New Turf Carriers Western Cape Stayers under Gavin Lerena carrying the familiar Greg Bortz silks (Picture: Wayne Marks).


Mike Moon of The Citizen went through the details of what Greg Bortz had done for Cape Racing in a pre-WSB Met article last week and said it was a race he deserved to win.

Bortz was represented by the forgotten horse of the race, Pomp And Power (Vercingetorix), who has become more famous for his misbehaviour than for his Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Cape Derby win last season.

Yet in the end Pomp And Power was the most unlucky of several unlucky horses in the race.

If he had been forgotten about in the build up, he was even more forgotten about by the time they had turned for home, because he was in last place in the 19 horse field.
However, he was switched to the outside by Kabelo Matsunyane and with a melee in front of him began making up ground on his lonesome.
When he reached the melee it was apparent he still had plenty in the tank.
He was soon climbing all over eventual winner Jet Dark, but there was nowhere to go.

He found some room late to finish a 1,20 length third at odds of 66/1.

Bortz can now look forward to another Hollywoodbets Durban July campaign, a race which Pomp And Power started favourite for last year.

This time the anticipation might even be greater, because they now know it is possible to hold Pomp And Power up and if successful in doing so he is capable of producing a devastating finish.

Bortz had immediate consolation for Pomp And Power’s bad luck when his Justin Snaith-trained five-year-old Dynasty gelding Salvator Mundi won the very next race, the Grade 2 New Turf Carriers Western Cape Stayers under Gavin Lerena, despite starting odds of 20/1. He owns Salvator Mundi in partnership with PA Isdell. 

In the build up Mike Moon went through some of the details of the incredible turnaround Cape Racing has experienced under the leadership of their executive chairman Greg Bortz.

Mike Moon wrote: 

“The most deserving winner of the WSB Cape Town Met on Saturday would be horse owner Greg Bortz, whose aquamarine and grey silks will be carried around Kenilworth Racecourse by outsider Pomp And Power.
For without Bortz there might not have been a 2023 Met at all.
At best, it would have been a sadly diminished version of the much-loved, 140-year-old event, Cape Town’s flagship horse race.
In early-July 2022, a press release popped into mailboxes declaring that Kenilworth Racing faced “severe liquidity and cash flow constraints” and extinction. This followed the 2020 collapse of South Africa’s leading racing operator Phumelela, which had been managing Western Cape racing under contract.
After that calamity, the Kenilworth locals were forced to pick up pieces and somehow limp along.
But creditors were closing in and the axe was about to fall on the sport of kings in the fairest Cape. An existential battle-weary racing community stared at oblivion in bewilderment.
“Without intervention, Cape racing would have fallen over,” says Bortz. “The patient wasn’t critical. The patient was dead!”
The good news in that press release was notice of Bortz’s company GMB Investments agreeing to buy the stricken operation. He was the only soul putting up his hand and offering to try to fix the mess.
GMB stuck in R130-million to settle immediate, urgent debt; then an old friend, Owen Heffer of Hollywoodbets, contributed R200-million to kickstart some new initiatives.
Despite the name of his horse, Bortz is adamant he doesn’t seek glory or reward: “Owen and I are doing it for the best of reasons. We are both just sick for horse racing.”
Seven months along, Bortz and Hollywoodbets are confounding pessimists and sceptics, not just saving Cape racing but transforming it.
Kenilworth has had a complete facelift, race stakes have been pumped up 35%, various incentives have drawn enthusiastic visiting trainers, new sponsors are queueing up, and the racing vibe hasn’t been so good in decades. All this is no fluke.
Bortz grew up in Durban in the 1970s, caught a bad dose of the horse racing bug and met impecunious tipster-cum-bookie Heffer.
After varsity in Cape Town, Bortz went abroad and conjured a fortune in the US as a banker and private equity whizzkid. At 50, he “retired” to Cape Town to indulge his passion for the nags.
But that rug was about to be pulled, so the turnaround expert gambled his money and considerable energy on a rescue bid. To help him was old pal Heffer, who had in the meantime built South Africa’s biggest online bookmaking firm.
These guys are no mugs when it comes to business. Indeed, they are the sort of people we need running the country.
Can Pomp And Power repay the Bortz favour on behalf of the racing game? Well, even at 66-1 he probably has more chance of success than Cape racing had back in June 2022.

One small thing: the gelding will have to beat the 7-2 favourite, a filly called Make It Snappy. Owned by? Heffer’s Hollywood Syndicate.”