Leading bookmaker Hollywoodbets handed over bursaries to the value of R565 205 to seven apprentices at South African Jockey Academy (SAJA) on Tuesday. The bursaries cover training and accommodation fees, enabling these apprentices to pursue their dream of becoming top jockeys.
Graham Bailey, headmaster of SAJA, expressed his gratitude at the company’s commitment to growing the sport of horse racing. “Hollywoodbets has come on board this year, assisting us by awarding a number of bursaries to seven apprentices who are unable to meet the required training fee. If we don’t receive these fees it impacts our ability to provide the type of service we need to provide to the apprentices. Having this support just enables us to continue doing what we know we need to do in order to develop professional jockeys into the future,” said Bailey.
Apprentices receive quality academic and vocational training from the SAJA. From the age of 15 they work hard to achieve the goal of having 60 winners. In order to pursue this the apprentice’s live on site where they receive three nutritional meals a day as well as support from a multi-disciplinary team including seasoned riding masters, all ex-jockeys, a dietician, sports psychologist, sports scientist, biokineticist and medical sister.
According to Hollywoodbets Transformation Consultant Babongile Mkhize, the company was impressed with the good work being done by SAJA. “We were so excited to be in a position to help when the South African Jockey Academy approached us for support. We had just recently started collaborating with our various brand ambassadors as well as Nomzamo Mbatha’s Lighthouse Foundation where we awarded tertiary bursaries to many South Africans who needed that helping hand. It is truly an honour to now be able to offer assistance to the future stars of the horse racing industry, an industry that is such a key part of our business,” she said. Former Champion Jockey Anthony Delpech, horse racing Brand Ambassador for Hollywoodbets, is happy to see the company come on board in support of the sport at this early stage. “This is the learning curve. This is where you start to learn about your trade and if you don’t learn how to find your style as a jockey and how to grow from an apprentice to a jockey, you will struggle. This is where you learn to become a great jockey and I don’t think it’s possible to do it without the academy. I think it’s fantastic that Hollywoodbets is part of this process by helping youngsters who can’t afford to get this opportunity otherwise and that they are giving back to racing in this way.”
Caption: Hollywoodbets Transformation Consultant Babongile Mkhize, Hollywoodbets horse racing Brand Ambassador Anthony Delpch and Graham Bailey, Headmaster of the South African Jockey Academy.