Cheltenham Roar Awaits Excited SA Connections On Tuesday

Diarise the time - 16h10 on Tuesday!

We can look forward to four fabulous days of the Cheltenham Festival from Tuesday to Friday this week!

Milestones seem to be the name of the game for Hollywoodbets founder and owner, Owen Heffer, and his son, Devin.

David Mollett writes that it must feel like a lifetime away since Paul Lafferty saddled Hollywood’s first winner, Splendid Night, in March 2002.

Little did the family know that their operation would expand to such a degree that it can be likened to the success of Robert Sangster some four decades ago.

At Hollywoodbets Kenilworth in December 2022, Make It Snappy provided the Hollywood Syndicate with their first Gr1 winner in the WSB Cape Fillies Guineas. No doubt Owen and Devin popped open the champagne.

Make It Snappy and Louis Mxothwa after the WSB Cape Guineas in 2022 (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Another notable Hollywood Syndicate milestone was reached on January 18 this year when Muzi Yeni punched out Clinton Binda’s runner, Sakhala Is’Cathulo, to victory at Turffontein to provide them with their 500th winner.

These milestones could possibly be trumped if novice chaser, Il Etait Temps, emerges victorious for the Hollywood Syndicate and Craig and Ross Kieswetter in the Gr1 Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham on Tuesday.

Devin Heffer, Brand and Communications manager for Hollywoodbets, is just the sort of livewire young man any company needs when it is continuously expanding its boundaries.

“We’ve just arrived in the UK – let’s wait and see,” emailed Devin last Friday and I fully understand his excitement about his second visit to the Gloucestershire track, as I’ve attended this famous meeting 12 times.

Il Etait Temps keeps his eye on the visitors from SA this weekend (Pic -Supplied)

In their latest betting,Hollywoodbets quote Il Etait Temps (French for ‘It’s About Time’) as a 5-1 chance, so he looks a great each-way wager.

If he runs as well as he did at Leopardstown, it’s hard to see him not finishing in the first three.

Ladbrokes quote Il Etait Temps’ stablemate, Gaelic Warrior, as the 4-1 favourite, followed by Gordon Elliot’s runner, Found A Fifty, at 9-2.

The race is off at 16h10 (SA time).

Also in the partnership in the six year-old are Craig and Ross Kieswetter who – apart from being the well-known owners of Ridgemont Stud in the Cape – also own Barnane Stud in Ireland. They are the sons of Wayne and Belinda Kieswetter.

Craig Kieswetter, who played cricket for England in 71 matches, is as excited about Tuesday’s race as the Heffers.

In an interview with Racing TV, Craig said: “I’ve been fortunate to experience highs in another sport, but I think the euphoria of winning a big race with a thoroughbred racehorse is pretty tough to beat that with anything in the world really.”

“The emotion in the build-up and then the success and disappointment, you feel it the same,” added the 36 year-old who is also a scratch golfer and has played on the PGA EuroPro Tour and Mena Golf Tour.

Rishi Persad chatted to Craig Kieswetter in Cape Town recently:

The first prize in Tuesday’s two-mile contest with 13 fences to be jumped is 98 473 pounds. This will be of little importance to the owners. Their desire is another milestone.

Ed – there is further South African interest in the Arkle Chase in the shape of Found A Fifty, who is a son of late Summerhill and Heversham Park sire, Solskjaer. Barnane also have another two runners on the day with Karais Des Blaise (Boodles Juvenile and running in partnership with Owen Heffer) and Echoes In Rain (Mares Hurdle). More about them on Monday.

See the Racing Post racecards here.

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