Hollywood Syndicate – A New Year

The Hollywood Syndicate looks well set up for a big season as we plan our racing programme for the next few months. A new year – some decent recent form and some exciting two-year-olds that will soon be on parade. 

The Syndicate notched up its 200th winner in fine style to kick off the month of February, when Hope Is Power found the winners box on debut at the Vaal, on Tuesday the 2nd of February. Trainer Clinton Binda collects the generous incentive of R10 000 for saddling this landmark winner for the Hollywood Syndicate. A bonus of R10 000 will also be handed to the winning jockey, Jason Gates, with R2 000 going to the winning groom Tinashe Nasho. A huge achievement, our next target has to be a feature race win this year.

Before we look at what 2021 has in store for us, we look back upon 2020. With its ups and downs and everything in between, the Hollywood Syndicate managed to pick up 42 winners between January and December. Not bad, considering that three months of the racing season went up in smoke due to the COVID-19 lockdown. With the 2020 – 2021 season having commenced on 1 August 2020, we are already on 28* winners – and counting. That puts us in 6th position on the NHRA National Owners log, with R1 704 925 in stakes earned so far.

During the course of 2020, we supported the various sales countrywide and we managed to add a further 35 yearlings and two-year-olds to our stable. At the time of writing, 26 have already been placed with various trainers, leaving 9 still to be allocated. As far as pedigrees and specimens are concerned, we have a lot to look forward to. Some of the best bred include the smart Dynasty colt, Imilenzweyokududuma, out of the black-type winning mare, Chevauchee, purchased at the 2020 CTS Cape Premier Yearling Sale in January and the handsome Platinum Sky, a colt by Silvano out of the Group 2 winning Captain Al mare, Princess Royal. Platinum Sky was purchased at the 2020 BSA National Yearling Sale.  The latter’s half-sister, Princess Calla, finished third in the recent Cartier Paddock Stakes Gr1 behind Queen Supreme and both lined up in the Cape Town Met Gr1 last weekend.

Platinum Sky – Silvano x Royal Princess by Captain Al

Other notable purchases include Major Maxwell, a What A Winter colt and full brother to the well-performed Tread Swiftly, as well as Spina Zonke, who was named by our Hollywoodbets Products Team.

With minor setbacks here and there, and different growth rates, it is always difficult to predict when most of the 2-year-olds will debut. At this stage, however, Imbejeje was our first juvenile this season.  She is a Var filly, out of the Western Winter mare, Ice Maiden, who herself is a close relative of Mother Russia. Recently named by the Hollywoodbets House Keeping Team, the name directly translated means “love handles”. She lined up for her debut this past Sunday, 31 January, at Hollywoodbets Scottsville and gave a good account of herself to finish in second place. Hope Is Power was next, a winner on debut, and if those first two are anything to go by, we have some exciting times ahead.

Most of our yearlings purchased last year were spelled at either Sally Bruss’ farm just outside Ceres in the Western Cape or at Robbie Dawson’s farm near Summerveld, and it is always a great pleasure to see how they progress under their watchful eyes. It is certainly an exciting time of year and considering the fact that we are in search of our first Grade 1 success, we hold high hopes that 2021 will be the year which makes that wish a reality. Both Sally and Robbie have done an impressive job.

January was a slow month on the winners’ front for us, with just the three winners in the form of Arctic Princess, Kings Road and Bhakka. After landing seven winners in December, we have an immediate reminder of how the wheel turns in this game. We currently have a number of solid handicappers, who appear to be racing off competitive ratings and it is just a matter of time before they start “hitting the board” again. We also have a few progressive types with bright futures ahead of them. Spydas Corner, Time To Roll, Ralph The Rascal and Purple Merchant come to mind, and we are looking forward to what the next few months have in store for these talented equine athletes.

The Hollywood Syndicate team has grown over the past twelve months, with the addition of Anthony Delpech as Racing Manager and Sally Bruss as our Sales Consultant/Yearling Manager. Both come with vast experience in this industry and have already made a significant and positive impact. Recently, Mike De Kock, Mark Dixon and Sean Tarry have been added to our team of trainers and we are excited to have these top conditioners looking after some of our horses. All three of them have proven track records and they have some of our promising two-year-olds to prepare for the racetrack.

A number of our Hollywoodbets Ambassadors have also joined forces with the Hollywood Syndicate in an initiative to promote the sport of horse racing across other sporting codes and sectors of the economy. Philanthropist and actress, Nomzamo Mbatha, named one of our fillies Zulu Citation. Former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, Brian Baloyi, named Spydas Corner, and the East Coast Radio team coined the phrase “East Coast Star” for a Visionaire filly that we purchased at the 2019 BSA National Yearling Sale. This rewarding initiative is set to grow over the coming months, with more of our Ambassadors jumping on board.

With the sales season on the horizon, our team will be studying the catalogue for the upcoming BSA Cape Yearling Sale on 28 February, before the CTS De Grendel Cape Premier Yearling Sale, on 14 March 2021 and it is great to see that new sponsors are getting involved in what is expected to be a fantastic event. Historically, it has been one of the high-quality sales on the calendar and is always well supported by local and international buyers alike.

The BSA National Yearling Sale is scheduled soon thereafter and, as always, it will be a key focus for us. In previous years we have managed to purchase the likes of Maitland Magic, Travelling Light, Purple Powahouse and other well-performed individuals at this auction. Another high-quality sale, it has produced many champions over the years and always attracts plenty of interest from buyers and great commitment from the breeders.

Until next time, follow the stars and enjoy the races.

*This number excludes the two winners we have in partnership with Dreamstar Racing.

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