When any year draws to a close, it is natural to look back and reflect on what has been achieved and on what could have been done better. For the Hollywood Syndicate, 2020 has been a year of new challenges, much like all the other stakeholders in the South African Horse Racing industry.
A tough year for many, we have endured numerous highs and lows and if there is a horse that best describes our year, it is Purple Persuasion. A filly who almost lost her life in March due to a freak accident in her stable but overcame the odds to find the winners’ enclosure seven months later, in October.
Over the course of this year, we have purchased 35 yearlings (now 2-year-old’s) and we will be hoping that our chances of picking up that elusive “Black-Type” winner will soon be a reality. The way things are currently going, that dream could come true in 2021.
Our Team has grown since the start of 2020. Anthony Delpech has taken over as the Hollywood Syndicate nominee and his vast experience as a well-travelled and seasoned champion jockey has been a priceless attribute for the Syndicate. Anthony has spent countless hours at Summerveld and Ashburton, liaising with our trainers and providing his valuable insights on race riding, tactics and jockeyship to the jockeys who have been engaged to ride our horses.
In addition, Sally Bruss has become an integral part of our team. Sally is widely known in the South African breeding industry as one of the shrewdest horsewomen around. She has played an important role as a speculator and pre-trainer for several of our more recent purchases. Her farm, situated outside Ceres in the Western Cape, offers supreme conditions and settings that have allowed our horses to really thrive prior to making their move into full training.
Furthermore, several of our Hollywoodbets Ambassadors have joined forces with the Hollywood Syndicate in an initiative to promote the sport of horse racing. Philanthropist and actress, Nomzamo Mbatha, named one of our fillies Zulu Citation. Former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, Brian Baloyi, named the Hollywood Syndicate owned 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.
As far as our horses’ performances are concerned, Look To The Sky kicked off our year on a high when going start to finish to land a 4,25 length victory on the 2nd of January, for the Clinton Binda Stable. That being our 154th winner for the Syndicate, we have managed to pick up a further 41 winners over the course of 2020, taking our current tally to 195, and the year isn’t over yet…!
Of late, the Syndicate has been in tremendous form having picked up seven winners in October, seven more in November and a further five winners under the belt so far in December. It has been a cracking start to the 2020-2021 season for us and we are currently sitting in 4th position on the National Owners Log with 24 winners and earnings just shy of R1 400 000 in stakes.
Fast approaching the magnificent milestone of 200 winners, it has been 18 years in the making since the formation of the Hollywood Syndicate. That was back on the 3rd of March 2002 when our first winner, Splendid Night, found the winners enclosure in a 2 000m Maiden Plate at what has now become known as Hollywoodbets Greyville.
Our approach has changed somewhat since then and, 194 winners later, we have decided to run an incentive for the trainer, jockey and groom responsible for our 200th winner, to enjoy this unique milestone with us. The trainer who saddles our 200th winner will receive a cheque for R10 000. The jockey who rides our 200th winner will also receive a cheque for R10 000. Not forgetting the groom who is responsible for our 200th winner, he or she will receive a cheque for R2 000. Fitting prizes for a significant milestone.
We owe a big thanks to our admirable band of trainers, all 16 of them and their entire teams, as well as the jockeys who don our silks with pride, for all their hard work over the course of the year. Success in this industry is without doubt a team effort. There is a lot to be proud of and we are looking forward to the next 12 months.
Wishing all stakeholders well over the festive period and a Happy New Year.