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Historic Champions Day wraps up with international success

Turffontein Racecourse had its inaugural World Pool event which resulted in an incredible accomplishment.

Champions Day, the pinnacle of 4Racing’s 2024 ‘The Championships Season’, on April 6 proved a resounding success.

Hosted at Turffontein Racecourse by 4Racing, this year’s event marked a historic moment in South African horseracing.

The highlight of the day was the four World Pool races hosted at Turffontein for the first time, adding a thrilling element to the event and elevating the excitement to unprecedented heights. Punters from 28 countries worldwide participated in the World Pool event, transforming the betting experience into a global spectacle.

The budding star Frances Ethel, trained by Brett Crawford and owned by Team Valor International (nom Mr B Irwin), Messrs D Chinsammy, GS Knowles, HP Sambor, Mrs Vanashree and Mr Anant Singh, concluded the third leg of the Wilgerbosdrift SA Triple Tiara series with an outstanding performance to secure the win with Kabelo Matsunyane aboard.

Jockey Juan Paul van der Merwe partnered with the unbeaten filly Gimme A Nother for an impressive victory in race 6, the R1m TAB Empress Club Stakes, marking the start of the World Pool races at Turffontein.

Trained by M F de Kock, she won the first two legs of the 2024 Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara series and was well on her way to winning the series. However, her trainer proved wise in opting to pursue the group 1 title in the Empress Club Stakes instead.

This win meant she remained unbeaten and has notched up seven consecutive wins including another Grade 1.
Mr Stinkie Pooe’s Purple Pitcher and jockey Kabelo Matsunyane had to dig deep to fight off challenges from Pure Predator and Mondial, delivering a phenomenal finish to take the TAB SA Derby and securing another Grade 1 victory for trainer, Robyn Klaasen.

A noteworthy highlight of the day was the R2 million World Pool Premier’s Champions Challenge, named in honour of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Ridden by Muzi Yeni, the KZN raider Royal Victory, added to his 2023 Betway Summer Cup performance by beating the best the Highveld had to offer to take the honours in this Grade 1.

Michael Fitzsimons, executive director of Wagering Products at The Hong Kong Jockey Club, emphasised the significance of international collaboration in advancing the sport.

“Champions Day has demonstrated the power of partnerships and collaborations in enhancing the betting experience and promoting the sport on a global scale. The success of the collaboration between 4Racing and The Hong Kong Jockey Club has not only elevated the betting experience but also united punters worldwide in a single, colossal pool.

“Congratulations to all the winners on Champions Day and we were delighted to welcome punters from all over the world to bet on the four World Pool races, contributing to the success of this exciting event,” said Fitzsimons.

The day was not only about horseracing but also about creating a memorable experience for all. A variety of food stalls and entertainment for kids added to the lively atmosphere, making it a family-friendly event.

As Champions Day continues to grow in popularity, it cements its place as a premier event on the global racing calendar. The final race day for the season will be the Championship Finale, which will take place on April 27 at Turffontein Racecourse.

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