A groundbreaking racecourse naming partnership and the combination of the alluring aroma of hot coffee and the pulsating beat of golden hooves thundering down the straight set the scene for a refreshingly feelgood morning at a buzzing Hollywoodbets Greyville city track on Thursday morning.
Multiple champion trainer Mike de Kock, who bids for a fifth Vodacom Durban July winner next Saturday, hailed the Gold Circle – Hollywoodbets racecourse branding initiative as a ‘one of the best things to happen to racing for decades’.
“Thank goodness that we have somebody thinking out the box at last. The manner in which Owen Heffer and his company were treated in the past – the banning of publications and the like – was plain and downright embarrassing and shameful. It’s a true mark of the man that Owen has let bygones be bygones and stepped forward to get involved in the interests of this great game. I hope that this alliance will be an example to the entire industry. I wish Hollywood and Gold Circle every success – and all stakeholders should be sitting up and thinking. Pooling skills and resources is long overdue and may KZN racing prosper,”the champion trainer told the Sporting Post.
The move by Gold Circle to bring a high-powered partner, who have a proven track record and have demonstrated their energy and enthusiasm to promote the sport and their brand with vigour, on board should be welcomed.
Divisions and fractured relationships have for too long characterised racing in this country, with vested interests and ego’s often overriding good old-fashioned business sense.
Mike De Kock added that he was pleased that his July favourite Hawwaam had been given a good blow-out and worked with his top miler stablemate Soqrat. Interesingly, the favourite’s work was amongst the most committed of the morning.
“I always give them a decent gallop at this stage. I don’t believe in bringing MR 80 rated companions along for a canter. He is not easy in the mouth, but Hawwaam’s in a good space,” he said.
Watch the Vodacom Durban July gallops here: