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One of the country’s current biggest owners, The Hollywood Syndicate, have never had a winner at Cape Town’s premier racecourse Kenilworth and yesterday scored only their second ever individual winner in the Western Cape when the Eric Sands-trained Hithemhardsunshine (What A Winter) won under Richard Fourie.

The horse was named by the popular former Tellytrack presenter Shaheen Shaw after his distinguishing catch phrase.

Shaw is contracted as a tipping host for Hollywoodbets on a regular podcast called “A Shaw Thing”.  

Shaw was there to lead Hithemhardsunshine in alongside Hollywood’s regional manager Tania van Eck and a number of other Hollywood employees.

Earlier, Shaheen could be heard shouting from the stands

He said later to presenter Stan Elley, “The voice is gone Sunshine. I went absolutely ballistic standing below Rouvaun in the commentary box. You know Hollywood have revitalised my interest in the sport. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand about them. It’s not just about gambling, they do a lot on the social responsibility front and that’s how I got involved with them.”

He said everybody had been asking him whether the horse could win and he had not known how to answer.

He continued, “Eric Sands has been in the game for forty years and I hope he gets more horses from Hollywood. Hit them hard Eric you baby!”

He thanked the big Hollywood team present and said, “They all got on,” before admitting he himself had “without a word of a lie, not a bean on … not a bean. But since five o’ clock this morning my nerves have been finished, it has been absolutely wonderful.”

He thanked all of the connections including Hollywoodbet’s Brands and Communications Manager Devin Heffer and the Hollywood Syndicate’s racing manager Anthony Delpech.

Sands said Hithemhardsunshine had finished half-a-length behind the Grade 3 Nursery runner up Wecangoallnight (Gimmethegreenlight) in a gallop so they had had to be confident but added one never knew with unraced two-year-olds.

Nevertheless the gelding delivered in no uncertain terms pinging the gates and then showing a fine turn of foot from a handy position. He then found extra impressively when challenged and was going way to win by 1,75 lengths over a trip which will be too sharp for him in the long run. 

Delpech selected the horse at the sales together with Hollywood’s sales and breeding expert Sally Bruss.

When they noticed Eric Sands was also keen on the horse it was agreed he would be the trainer if they got him and vice versa.

The first Hollywood-owned winner in Cape Town was the Stan Elley-trained New Domina (Dominion Royale), who won two races, both at Durbanville.way back in 2008 and 2009.

Matthew Lips was the racing manager back then  and recalled buying this horse at the Cape Sales for R40,000, which he thought was good value for “a neat Dominion Royale filly.”

Hollywood chiefly supported Elley and Riaan van Reenen in the Cape back then as trainers who were both good horseman and did well with the small numbers they had.

New Domina actually gave the useful Grade 2 winner Townsend weight and a beating in a Graduation Plate in one of her wins.

Picture: Hithemhardsunshine being led in by Shaheen Shaw, Tania van Eck and others (Wayne Marks).