Goosen’s Princess Tea Takes The Honours

Plenty of happy winners in regional competition

Eleven glorious, albeit at times rain interrupted, weeks of action-packed KZN horseracing culminated in some tightly contested racing at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Friday evening.

Three veteran racing men in owner Preggie Somasundram, and trainers Louis Goosen and Garth Puller, were amongst the big winners in the Hollywoodbets Sizzling Summer Challenge which saw a total of over R1 million awarded to owners, jockeys, trainers and apprentices.

Louis Goosen – saddled the equine champion

The regional competition was launched on 16 October and pitted the individual skill sectors against each other in a participant league-based challenge, that rewarded the both the smaller and bigger players. Strike-rates were applied to give the players with lesser numbers, the chance to be competitive and earn their share of the rewards.

Veteran trainer Louis Goosen, who has a string of just 16 horses at his disposal, was over the moon to have saddled the winner of the horse category in the shape of the Willempie Engelbrecht junior bred Gimmethegreenlight filly Princess Tea. The consistent 4yo ran seven times during the challenge for a win and 4 place cheques, and earned her connections R80 000. She ran out of the money on Friday evening but had done enough to secure the lion’s share of the R400 000 up for grabs in the equine section. Places paid down to 20th spot.

Princess Tea (Jason Gates ) wins a cracker at Hollywoodbets Greyville on 25 November 2022 (Pic – Akal Photography)

“Thanks to Hollywoodbets for innovating with this terrific competition. We sweated but we cracked it and I’m really pleased for Preggie and all of the other owners who earned a cheque. I’m going to enjoy a little whisky now to savour a plan come together,” said the enthusiastic former Vaal conditioner.

Legendary champion jockey Garth Puller secured the top trainer cheque with 800.5 points. In second place was Kom Naidoo, who finished on 703 points.

There was R400 000 up for grabs in the trainers section of the competition, and the thrilled Puller banked R50 000. Prize money was paid down to 20th place. The best average points per runner was calculated on points divided by runners in the competition, with a minimum requirement of 45 runners. The winner here was Wendy Whitehead who banked the R25 000 as she triumphed by a whisker on 6.13 points per runner. She just edged out local past champions Duncan Howells and Dennis Drier on 6.06.

Garth Puller – winner in the trainer section (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

“At this time of the year, we may not be the top ranked racing centre in South Africa, with all the great action down in the Cape. But full marks to Hollywoodbets – they always find a way of turning a challenge into a fun and constructive positive for the game and we are most grateful for the acknowledgement and the cash prize. It will be put to very good use I assure you!” Garth Puller told the Sporting Post.

National log-leader Keagan de Melo had to sit on his hands and sweat through a week-long suspension but hung on to secure the top jockey cheque with 753.5 points. Serino Moodley finished in second place with 725 points, ahead of Tristan Godden on 610.5 points. De Melo also secured the best average points per ride with 6.4.

There was R220 000 up for grabs in the jockey section with De Melo winning the R60 000 plus the R20 000 bonus for the best average per ride.

Top national challengers Smanga Khumalo and Richard Fourie did not manage to attain the minimum requirement of 80 rides

SA champion apprentice Rachel Venniker was the top apprentice and banked R10 000 of the R30 000 prize on offer in the apprentice section. She finished on 729 points with the promising Siphesphile Hlengwa back in second on 525 points. The latter meritoriously secured the best average points per runner (5.8), and earned an additional R5 000 bonus on top of his prize money.

See all the final log standings here.

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