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The SA Champions Season, whose pinnacle is the Hollywoodbets Durban July, will Benefit from a R10 million injection by Hollywoodbets (Picture: Candiese Lenferna). 

“The Right horses must be in the right provinces at the right times.” – Devin Heffer.

The SA Champion Season is just around the corner and what a humdinger it should be this year, especially in the three-year-old category.

Gold Circle is looking forward to welcoming the best from all over South Africa to KwaZulu-Natal and in an exciting announcement today (Thursday), Gold Circle CEO Michel Nairac revealed that in addition to the budgeted R7,4 million Rand stakes increase due on 1 March, longstanding KZN racing supporters Hollywoodbets would be topping up the KZN stakes pot with a whopping additional R10 million.

“The Board and Management of Gold Circle, together with all stakeholders, thank Hollywoodbets for stepping forward again to ensure that we can host this well-established platform to attract a wide range of the best horses from across the country, and that owners, trainers, jockeys and grooms will benefit at all levels,” said a delighted Nairac.
Chairperson of Gold Circle, Sadha Naidoo, echoed those sentiments – “We are committed to hosting a great Champions Season – we owe that to all stakeholders, but this would not have been possible without the continued, willing and enthusiastic support of Hollywoodbets. We are most grateful for this amazing partnership.”
The distribution of the R17,4 million will see minimum stakes for any races in the province during the period raised to R100 000 and will cater for an adjustment to stakes levels and Grooms benefits until 31 August 2023.
Importantly, it will also ensure that stakeholders are rewarded for quality.
Devin Heffer, Hollywoodbets’ Brand & Communications Manager, said, “This reiterates our commitment to SA racing, so we are not only contributing as a bookmaker but also as passionate racing fans. The SA Champions season was excellent last year and we have also been involved in the highly successful current Cape Summer season, so we need to ensure continuity of both, not only for the good of the stakeholders and players but also for the punters. We need to ensure that the best horses are in the right provinces at the right times.”
The news of the stakes boost was positively received, with Gr1-winning trainer Dean Kannemeyer, who has been a player in the Champions Season for over four decades, welcoming the injection and lauding Hollywoodbets for their support.
“Things really are looking up. The team are doing a terrific job down in the Cape, and the very attractive winter programme has had a makeover of serious proportions. I will certainly be supporting the KZN season. I may be leaving the Cape a little later than usual, but let’s face it, the Champions Season is the Champions Season! It is a terrific time to race, all the top horses are there, and the climate is simply wonderful,” added Kannemeyer.
As the sun sets on the Hollywoodbets Kenilworth Summer Festival of racing down South with the running of the SplashOut Gr1 Cape Derby on 25 February, and the Highveld’s The Championships already underway, plans are in progress to launch the 2023 SA Champions Season at the Theatre Of Champions on 6 May with the running of the Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes and the World Sports Betting Guineas and Fillies Guineas.
One of the Southern Hemisphere’s great horseracing festivals, the season features 37 stakes races including 13 at the elite level in a diverse three-month programme that captures the imagination of the racing public, like no other.
Gold Circle’s SA Champions Season is a proud and long-established tradition and reaches its pinnacle with Africa’s greatest horseracing event, the R5 million Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July, which will be run at Hollywoodbets Greyville on 1 July.
Further announcements, including the 2023 Champions Season Feature programme, will follow in due course.