Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Hollywoodbets, CK Racing Join Forces

Hollywoodbets, CK Racing Join Forces

Hollywoodbets, CK Racing Join Forces

Hollywoodbets has joined forces with the CK Racing Team. This article originally appeared in Sporting Post.


Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

The CK Horseracing Team are looking forward to the big rain-delayed day at Turffontein on Saturday, when Eliud carries the stable’s hopes as he steps out in the World Sports Betting Gr2 Gauteng Guineas.
“Eliud is a Futura ‘bomb’. He took a while to taxi down the runway, but has now taken off,” declares trainer Candice Dawson enthusiastically about her Tony Ruffel Stakes fourth-placed two-time winner.

Speaking to the Sporting Post, an excited Kathryn Ralphs said that CK Horse Racing were proud to be associated with a  market-leading brand that invests in horseracing and the community, and strives for excellence.

“Congratulations to the Hollywood Syndicate on achieving their 200 winner milestone on 2 February. That’s a terrific performance in horseracing anywhere in the world, and we are very proud to be sponsored by a winning brand. The reciprocal benefits of this kind of relationship are important and I see plenty of natural synergy in the association,” said Kathryn.

The Randjesfontein-based CK Horse Racing have blazed a trail of innovation and big race winners over the past five years, culminating in an historic Grade 1 success when their Master Of My Fate filly Sentbydestiny, an R80 000 National 2yo Sale buy, achieved a rare feat when she beat the top 3yo males to win the Premiers Champion Stakes at Hollywoodbets Greyville at the end of August last year.

The top filly is owned by Vicky Veeramootoo – a man who has supported CKR from the day they launched.

After a break following her big win, Sentbydestiny has been placed twice at feature race level and ‘should be considered highly’, say the top team.

It’s difficult to envisage a more complementary dynamic management trio than Kathryn Ralphs, coupled with the Dawson sisters, Candice and Tammi.

And the proof is in the pudding as shown in the growth of their operation to four barns at Randjesfontein – they say that they wouldn’t train from anywhere else in South Africa  – with their neighbours including such illustrious veteran conditioners as Stuart Pettigrew and Mike de Kock.

With a focus on delivery and customer communication, they are a powerhouse combination of a love of horses and people, and have been steadfast on presenting the yard as a team, instead of a trainer and team.

They explain that the success of the CK Horse Racing brand is important to all of them, which has made it easy to umbrella all of their individual roles under one entity.

They are ably supported by a team of 36 ‘hard-working guys’. Shepard, Emmanuel and Thomas are their Head-Grooms.

Jockeys Ride Horses

They also have an in-house admin-assistant, Tanya Pilgrim.

“Tanya works at CK Horse Racing and at the Johannesburg racecourses as a horse identifier. She is also our in-house psychologist and a very loved friend.”

CK Horse Racing have upped the ante in terms of their time and effort on Social Media and have sponsored on-track resident photographers JC Photos in Johannesburg – which has helped to boost their brand exposure.

While her youthful charm belies it, Candice Dawson first took out an assistant licence 21 years ago.

“I first acquired my trainer’s license in Mauritius, which was in 2013/2014 – and a bit more of a challenging process being the first female trainer on the island!” she laughs.

Candice took out her trainer’s licence in South Africa at the end of 2015 and CK Horse Racing sprouted wings in February 2016.

The yard has grown into a major force on the SA racing landscape with 86 horses in training.

“We still have quite a young string, with the majority 2, 3 and 4 year olds,” explains Candice as she fondly includes her three resident lead ponies in the story.

“Sundari is an ex-racehorse that did very well for us, and won our first feature race, the Flamingo Park Mile, during a raid in Kimberley very early on in the CKR journey. Then Beza is also an ex-racehorse who suffered a severe injury. He is now a gentle giant and a brilliant lead. Last, but definitely not least, California is ‘the world’s best lead horse’ and a family favourite. As a pony, he has never been a racehorse, but he acts like one when leading a horse to the start!”

The spotlight turns to Kathryn Ralphs, who admits that when they launched the business they were all spread ‘pretty thin and were thus obliged to wear many hats’.

“So I started off doing a lot of admin and paperwork. Currently I’m more focused on marketing and client-relations. I don’t get involved in the physical training side of things, but I do stay involved in the equine career plans, the nominations, acceptances, jockey selections and updating owners on the horse’s and the yard’s progress,” says Kathryn.

The vibe amongst the management team is clearly professional but very warm.

They go on to explain that Candice’ sister Tammy had been living in Scotland for a couple of years when the company started, but prior to that, had been an assistant trainer within SA for as long as Candice was.

“Once we were sufficiently established to bring on an assistant, Candice was insistent on it being Tammy. They had worked together before and understand each other’s methods. So Tammy was our ‘import’ – she joined us in 2018 and became a director of CK Horse Racing in the beginning of 2019,” adds Kathryn as she explains further that Tammy’s roles were initially focused on work-riding because of her natural ‘feel for horses’.

“She has also taken on a lot more day-to-day responsibilities of running the yard, and training. She has a brilliant work ethic and an excellent rapport with the team,” compliments Kathryn.

“Miracle And Wonder s exceptionally talented and we expect great things from her. Humble Tune is much feistier on the racetrack than he is at home, and that for us is always a good sign. Ballet Shoes has the heart and ability – a killer combination,” she says with a twinkle in her eye.

While they have always been focused on inspiring women to get involved at more levels in the sport of kings, Kathryn is clearly pleased with their new association with Hollywoodbets.

“We hugely appreciate their focus on making positive changes in horseracing in South Africa, and we are proud to wear their brand alongside ours. The company has an incredible commitment to racing and the community and we hope that we can do them proud!”

“Starting on Saturday, we are hoping to be competitive in the  features in Johannesburg and in the Durban season. Every year we aim to better our stats from the previous season, and we want to achieve more graded race success. Our current longer term goal is to get into the national top ten – and even maybe one day be as scary to Mike De Kock as he is to us!” said Kathryn with a broad smile.

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