Historic Champions Day Wraps Up with Great International Success

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 were 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 Valour International (nom: Mr. B. Irwin), Messrs. D. Chinsammy, G. S. Knowles, H. P. 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 the unbeaten filly Gimme A Nother for an impressive victory in race 6, the R1-million 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 in 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 Gr1 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. 

“We are thrilled about the success of Champions Day and the overwhelming response we received from the global racing community. Hosting our first World Pool event at Turffontein was a monumental achievement, and it reaffirms South Africa’s position as a key player in international horseracing. The four Grade 1 races featured in the World Pool, namely the Empress Club Stakes, the World Pool Premier’s Champions Challenge, the TAB SA Derby, and the Jonsson Workwear ComputaForm Sprint, showcased some of the finest talent in the sport and provided an unforgettable experience for racegoers and punters, “said Fundi Sithebe, CEO of 4Racing.

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 final, which will take place on April 27, 2024, at Turffontein Racecourse. 

Here’s a full list of the winners for Champions Day:

Race 1: Master Archie at Stud Maiden Plate (A).

Horse: So seductive. 

Trainer: Johan Janse van Vuuren

Jockey: Gavin Lerena 

Race 2: WILGERBOSDRIFT SA FILLIES NURSERY (Grade 2)

Horse: Little Ballerina 

Trainer: Candice Dawson

Jockey: Gavin Lerena

Race 3: TAB SA Nursery (Grade 2)

Horse: Fire Attack

Trainer: Alec Laird 

Jockey: Diego De Gouveia 

Race 4: TAB HAWAII STAKES (Grade 2)

Horse: Sandringham Summit

Trainer: David Nieuwenhuizen 

Jockey: Gavin Lerena

Race 5: WILGERBOSDRIFT BRIDGET OPPENHEIMER SA OAKS (Grade 2)

Horse: Frances Ethel

Trainer: Brett Crawford

Jockey: Kabelo Matsunyane

Race 6: TAB EMPRESS CLUB STAKES (Grade 1)

Horse: Gimme A Nother

Trainer: Mike De Kock

Jockey: Juan Paul van der Merwe

Race 7: JONSSON WORKWEAR COMPUTAFORM SPRINT (Grade 1)

Horse: Thunderstruck

Trainer: Sean Tarry

Jockey: Richard Fourie

Race 8: TAB SA DERBY (Grade 1)

Horse: Purple Pitcher

Trainer: Robyn Klaasen

Jockey: Kabelo Matsunyane

Race 9: WORLD POOL PREMIER’S CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE (Grade 1)

Horse: Royal Victory

Trainer: Nathan Kotzen

Jockey: Muzi Yeni

Race 10: 4RACING CARADOC GOLD CUP (Listed)

Horse: Rule Book

Trainer: Alec Laird

Jockey: Kaidan Brewer

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