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Picture: The Alyson Wright-trained What A Winter gelding Aggressivo is led in by Hollywood Syndicate racing manager Anthony Delpech (right) and team member James Rich. (Candiese Lenferna). 

 

The Hollywood syndicate had more winners than any other owner in the country last season, 101, and were crowned KZN Champion owners.

In the national championship they were second only to Drakenstein Stud in stakes.

This season they are out in front in the national championship in both stakes and number of winners.

Their 28 winners is more than double second-placed Drakenstein Stud’s 13 and their stakes earnings of R2,471,175 is more than double Drakenstein’s 1,047,325.

However, Hollywood Syndicate’s racing manager Anthony Delpech believes they might still be short of the firepower that wins national championships.

Delpech said it had meant a lot to win the KZN Championship last season and added, “Every time you achieve something it starts with goals and our first goal was to be Champion Owners in KZN. Obviously our bigger goal is to be National Champion Owners and that will come with time when we find a Group 1 horse … I think the most important thing is for us to find a Group 1 horse, but at the moment we are having a lot of winners and things are going well.”

He continued, “You have got to aim a little bit higher than last season. Our numbers have grown, we have more horses.”

There is a competition among the Hollywood team to see who can get closest to predicting the number of winners for the season.

Delpech said, “My number was 125 winners.”

He added, “But you know how racing goes … you’re having a good run and things can change. But we have been very lucky we have been able to lease a lot of horses from Ridgemont, which has made it much easier for us.  Those kind of horses are well bred and you wouldn’t be able to purchase them at the sales. We have been lucky enough to have a great partnership with them, allowing us to lease these horses which is giving us a lot of winners, so let’s hope this relationship grows stronger.”

Regarding Grade 1 potential among the Hollywood Syndicate string, Delpech said, “Well, it’s early days. We’ve got a lot of three-year-olds who are showing us they are not too bad. I think you have to go one step at a time and let them first achieve it. But we do have one or two three-year-olds who I believe will give us the opportunity this season to maybe crack it.”

Of the older horses he said, “Isivunguvungu is one of the horses going to Cape Town for the season and it will be nice to see how competitive he is there. He is a horse who is improving and doing better all the time, so let’s hope he does us proud in Cape Town.”

Delpech agreed this son of What A Winter was appearing to be a 1000m specialist. He said, “He is the kind of a horse who tries to do too much early on. When we go six furlongs he just over-races and doesn’t find much. Over five furlongs they run a bit faster and he is able to settle just off the speed and finish the race off a little better. So I think he is a better horse over five furlongs. But with more time he may be able to settle and get six furlongs.” 

Delpech also received a personal award at the KZN Awards, the KZN Personality Of The Year award.

He said, “I am not sure who gave it to me! It was a bit of a shock, but anyway I will take it. Whoever did give it I appreciate it. We try hard to achieve goals and I work with a fantastic team and good people. I am enjoying my job and things are going well.”

Delpech confirmed he was proud of Hollywoodbets’ impact on racing and elaborated, “It is fantastic what they are doing for racing in KZN and at Hollwyoodbets Durbanville and Hollywoodbets Kenilworth. I was at Hollywoodbets Durbanville on Saturday and it was unbelievable. There was a fantastic atmosphere. There was a huge crowd, the parking was really full. There was more than just racing. A lot of people were there not just to bet on horses but for a day out, which is fantastic to see. There was a lot of wine-tasting, there were a couple of pubs outside, beer areas, there was just so much going on at one time. It was festive. I enjoyed sitting outside more than sitting upstairs. because it just felt good. It didn’t feel like being at a race meeting it was like being at a festival.”