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Launched by the new Cape Racing team on 1 September 2022 as a first in South African racing history, the innovative RaceCape incentive, powered by Hollywoodbets, proved a real winner last term and injected over R13,5 million into the pockets of stakeholders, in the process achieving all of its immediate goals, and more.

With the ultimate aim of boosting racehorse ownership in the Western Cape and achieving enhanced field sizes with the knock-on vital lifeblood of increased betting turnovers, the RaceCape incentive underscored the unprecedented turnaround experienced in Cape horseracing by providing further opportunities for the local racing community and increased employment prospects for grooms and work riders, as well as raising the bar for all related and ancillary horse racing services.

The Cape Racing Team unveiled their RaceCape package for the new season this week.

Last term’s numbers make for interesting reading!

RaceCape, powered by Hollywoodbets, paid out a hefty R13,52 million to stakeholders, which included R8,4 million in appearance fees to local owners and R2,13 million in saddling fees to local trainers.

Visiting horses of all classes from other provinces undoubtedly raises the standard of competition and adds to the diversity aspect for racing fans.

As a means of attracting and incentivising out-of-province raiders, Cape Racing paid out R2,99 million through bonuses, appearance fees and subsidised transport.

In the 2021/22 season, average field sizes in the Cape were 8,8 runners per race. This increased over 17% to 10,4 last season. This demonstrated the benefits of the RaceCape incentives and bucked the trend in both Gauteng and KZN, which saw declines in field sizes season-on-season.

Individual horses, or unique runners, as we call them, rose from 1076 in the Cape the previous season to 1169 for 2022/23. The intention is to grow this number further in the season ahead. Comparatively, KZN and Gauteng both showed a drop in their unique runners.

It is worth noting that Cape Racing recently announced stakes increases ranging from a rise of R20 000 for a Maiden Plate (from R100 000 to R120 000) to R25 000 for a Class 4 Handicap (from R110 000 to R135 000) to R35 000 for a Class A Stakes race (from R150 000 to R185 000).

In allocating the increase adjustments, consideration was given to fairness and balance across the range of divisions – the encouraging principle for owners being that there is an economically viable place for all horses of all strengths in the Cape. The traditional ‘off-season’ period, run between September and October, also benefits from notable prize money increases.

Cape Racing: Executive Racing & Bloodstock Executive Justin Vermaak, pictured above, told the Sporting Post that there would be some minor changes to the RaceCape incentive structure for the new season, which included categorisation of trainers on a similar basis to their recently launched Syndication scheme.

“In terms of the natural evolution of the RaceCape programme, we have continued to review the underlying goals of the initiative and have tweaked the structure to ensure that our primary goals are always in sight. The aims include sustainable growth of the general horse population, curbing the outflow of lower-rated horses from the province, and focusing on the survival and growth of the smaller stables. We recently announced substantial stakes increases at all levels of our racing and implemented considered, and what we believe to be well-researched, programme changes for juveniles to our older horses. These changes have been very well received. We are consulting and talking to stakeholders all the time – and, more importantly, we are listening to them,” added Vermaak.

The trainer categories to apply this season are the same as those published recently for the syndicate scheme and are listed below:

  • Category A – Snaith/Bass/Crawford
  • Category B – Marshall/Kotzen/Kannemeyer
  • Category C – The rest + ALL raiders

These categories will be remunerated as follows:

Category    Owner   Trainer

  • A             R2 000    R400
  • B             R2 500    R500
  • C             R3 000    R750

Jockeys will receive an additional R100 a ride, with a 50% reduction if not meeting the local work riding criteria.

The visitor bonuses will remain – i.e. R10 000 to the owner and R10 000 to the trainer for non-festival meetings.

This increases to R50 000 to the owner and R50 000 to the trainer at a Festival meeting but does not apply to races with stakes in excess of R500 000.

Subsidies for transport and free stable rental are also offered to out-of-province runners.

Devin Heffer, Hollywoodbets Brand and Communications Manager said their backing of RaceCape was rewarding.

“We have already seen the tangible spin-offs for local racing, and the overall upliftment of the sport in the Cape goes hand-in-hand with enhanced job security and job opportunities in the sport and ancillary functions in the region. We are proud to be associated with innovation and out-of-the-box thinking on this level. Congratulations to the Cape Racing team, and we really cannot wait to enjoy the summer racing action,” he concluded.

Added Greg Bortz, Chairman of Cape Racing: “The RaceCape initiative remains one of our most important strategies to date. It is a true game changer, and we intend to keep innovating and enhancing the programme over time. We are so grateful to Hollywoodbets for their continued support of RaceCape – long may it continue!”