Lifetime horseracing fanatic Raj Naidoo struck gold as the sun set on the Hollywoodbets Greyville programme on Monday.
The meeting heralded the end of the first month of the reloaded Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge.
The top 20 players after the month enjoyed a share of the additional R20 000 incentive and Phoenix-based Raj, who plays the popular competition under the name ‘Coops’, told the Sporting Post that his first cheque of R8000 would allow him to plan a Christmas surprise for his wife.
He says that he would also love to purchase an air conditioner.
“It’s getting hotter here in KZN. I’d like to save some of my winnings too,” he added.
The game is simple and requires a player to pick one horse for each race on the card.
Players receive points depending on where their selection finishes in a race, and how many actual runners there are in a race.
Coops tells us that he almost hit all 9 winners in one of the meetings – and came close to scooping the bonus cash – currently R700 000 for Friday’s Hollywoodbets Greyville meeting – for the player who picks all the winners on a particular KZN raceday.
A natural competitor, Coops was a keen golfer for a few years on the South Coast. He played for fun and also enjoyed road running in his younger days in Chatsworth.
The Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge now provides him with a platform to compete with his friends.
This is the finishing order of the monthly challenge
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There have been some outstanding performances from a host of players amongst the many thousands of entries and Coops gave some insight into his personal strategy.
“I look at the betting and scan the card from start to finish until I know exactly what’s cutting,” he enthuses as he adds that he looks at horses that have ‘not been performing too well’.
He also follows his favourite trainers and jockeys – he says that he uses the Winning Form and he doesn’t let anyone try and change his mind once he has made his selections!
A close second, and a man who actually selected more winners – 24 versus 21 – than Coops, is Chatsworth resident Lionel Arumugam, who plays under the pseudonym, Usuthu49.
Usuthu is a war cry and indicates an association with his favourite soccer team, Amazulu. Lionel says that the name ‘holds a lot of power’. He was born in 1949.
He tells that the win came at a good time, and he is clearly a man with great form in the competition – in the first Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge, he managed to achieve second place and won himself R4 000.
Lionel says that the prize money banked earlier this week will be used towards ‘a few things for Christmas’ for his family.
Unemployed as a result of his disability, he is a genuine Hollywoodbets fan and is pleased with the CSI work done by SA’s leading bookmakers.
When pressed on his tactical approach to the challenge, he explains that he uses the Winning Form to make his selections and favours a horse if his favourite jockeys are riding on the day and interestingly, like Coops, he doesn’t allow himself to be influenced by others!
A past ‘Top 20’ player, Cape Town-based NMU final year Pharmacy student Waldo Weyers has clearly found the right chemistry, and was in fourth place on the top 20 log.
Interestingly, he had 25 winners – beating both Coops and Usuthu49, who benefitted from the bonus points that are awarded for winning selections..
This works on the basis that the Hollywoodbets starting price (SP) for the winner is added to the points awarded.
If the winning horse’s SP is 4/1, for example, then an additional 5 points (4 + 1) will be added to the points earned.
Waldo says he enjoys horseracing more than any other sport and has been betting on horses recently because of the Punters’ Challenge.
He unhesitatingly affirms that the competition has added so much more fun to the horse racing experience for him, personally.
The hardworking student plays a slightly varied tactical game and uses the Clocking the Gallop YouTube podcast.
The Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge continues at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Friday 4 December.
Players stand a chance to win their share of R10 000 at every KZN race meeting.
The game is free to play for all Hollywoodbets account holders, using their login credentials on the Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge website.
The prize breakdown per meeting is R4 000 for the winner, R2 000 for 2nd place, R1 000 for 3rd place, R500 for 4th place, R250 each for positions 5th to 10th and R100 each for positions 11th to 20th.
Prizes are credited to the winners’ Hollywoodbets account and can be used for betting purposes or withdrawn as cash.
There is R700 000 up for grabs on Friday 4 December for the player who picks all the winners on the day!
This is an all or nothing prize and for every race meeting where the 100% prize is not won, a further R25 000 will be added to the pot.
Some have gone within a heartbeat and this is the ultimate benchmark of excellence in the challenge. The prize could be over the ‘magic million’ later this month.
Join the winners and get your entry in. It’s free!