Champions Season ’23 – Increases & Changes

Stakes of more than R29 million will be paid

Gold Circle and Hollywoodbets  have announced that Champions Season 2023 will boast more than R29-million in prize money for the Feature race programme, which comprises 13 Grade 1 races, 12 Grade 2 races and a host of Grade 3 and Listed events.

In addition, an amount of R24-million will be paid out for the minor races during this period.

Speaking on behalf of Gold Circle, CEO, Michel Nairac said:“At this time, when horse racing is facing many challenges, we are delighted that the status of our Champions Season has not only been retained, but it has also been enhanced. Of course, this would not have been possible without the generous support of our loyal headline sponsor and partner, Hollywoodbets. All stakeholders are indebted to Hollywoodbets for their continued backing and belief.”

With all the Covid protocols and regulations now firmly behind us, racegoers can look forward to a Champions Season of high-quality horse racing, with visitors descending on KwaZulu-Natal from all around the country.

Annually, the Champions Season which brings the racing year to a glorious conclusion, attracts the best horses, jockeys, and trainers to compete in the ‘National Championship’ of South African horse racing.

The R5-million Hollywoodbets Durban July remains the most sought-after and valuable prize. However, there are significant increases for the following important Graded races:-

  1. Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge (Grade 1) from R1,25-million to R1,75-million
  2. Daily News 2000 (Grade 1) from R1-million to R1,50-million
  3. HKJC Champions Cup (Grade 1) from R1-million to R1,25-million
  4. Garden Province Stakes (Grade 1) from R1-million to R1,25-million
  5. Woolavington 2000 (Grade 1) from R750 000 to R1-million
  6. The Gold Cup 3200m (Grade 3) from R750 000 to R1-million
  7. Premiers Champion Stakes 2yo’s (Grade 1) from R500 000 to R700 000
  8. Thekwini Stakes 2yo fillies (Grade 1) from R500 000 to R700 000

In addition, the following Grade 2 races have had their stake increased from R400 000 to R500 000:-

  1. World Sport Betting Guineas
  2. Independent on Saturday Drill Hall Stakes
  3. Post Merchants

And the following Grade 2 races:-

  1. World Sports Betting Fillies Guineas from R350 000 to R450 000
  2. World Sports Betting 1900 from R350 000 to R400 000.

Additionally, Gold Circle wishes to advise that The Gold Cup race meeting has been moved from Saturday 29 July to Sunday 30 July. This has been agreed to because the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot Racecourse in England has been moved to Saturday 29 July.

Both of these elite race meetings are ‘World Pool’ events, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club has requested that the meetings take place on consecutive days rather than simultaneously.

“Given the status and value of hosting a World Pool race meeting, the decision to move the Gold Cup to Sunday 30 July was a no-brainer,” said Nairac.

Gold Circle also wishes to advise that the conditions of the Gr1 Woolavington 2000 have been changed with immediate effect.

Formerly restricted to three-year-old fillies, the Woolavington 2000 will now be open to all Fillies and Mares at Weight-for-Age.

The change in conditions was approved by the Asian Pattern Committee (APC) and Gold Circle Racing Committee and the race will retain its Grade 1 status.

“The Woolavington 2000 was struggling to maintain the levels required by the APC for a Grade 1 3yo fillies’ race and we are confident that the depth of quality will improve significantly now that it is open to all fillies and mares,” said Gold Circle Racing Executive Raf Sheik. “In addition, the change of conditions adds a significant Grade 1 opportunity for older fillies and mares over a middle distance and fills a gap in our Champions Season programme.”

  • Media release by Gold Circle on Thursday 16 March 2023
  • Images by Candiese Lenferna

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